Local girl creates an online group for children with food allergies

Hemali Gauri dealt with food allergies and wanted to help other children and parents by providing a community to share information and experiences.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Food allergies can be dangerous and sometimes you may not even know what you are allergic to until you already have a reaction. A Haas Hall student has come up with a way to help other kids with food allergies.

Despite what you may see in the movies… food allergies are no laughing matter, just ask Hemali Gauri, the high school senior. She started fighting food allergies a few years ago, which led her to create the website K12Allergies.

“We had to do the skin prick test, which is the usual test for food allergy diagnosis and it came back inconclusive, so that meant keeping a food diary and an elimination diet, which basically meant keeping food allergens, common allergens behind for weeks each other and then follow my reaction,” Gauri said. “It was like a really big process and that made me realize that this is something people go through and it’s really hard.”

That struggle inspired her to do something to help others struggling with food allergies and she created a food allergy support group for children.

“Basically, it just helps with the diagnosis of food allergies and childhood allergies and with living with them,” Gauri said. “It’s growing. It’s like a global collection of 45+ stories from these parents just sharing their child’s story and the tips they have.”

And as any parent knows, sharing experiences can make a big difference and Gauri understands that.

“That’s where K12Allergies comes in. There’s a sort of search feature where you can search all the people who’ve added their stories… and like what they’re allergic to, and then you can find people who are similar to your experience to learn from.”

Learning, growing and helping others has now become Gauri’s mission.

“I know my site is making a difference in the lives of new parents with food allergies and I am very thankful that I was able to make that difference and to be there for something I would have wanted as I went through the process.”

It’s safe to say she’s already made a difference and will likely continue to make a difference for a long time to come.

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Local girl creates an online group for children with food allergies

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