The Anaphylaxis Campaign, of which I am director, was set up early in 1994 following five well-publicised deaths caused by allergic reactions to peanuts or tree nuts. Those who died included my teenage daughter Sarah, whose death was particularly shocking because her previous allergic reactions to nuts had been mild. As a journalist, I had some expertise in gathering information and there were indications early on that, far from being rare, nut allergy was really quite common. Supported by my MP, Cranley Onslow, I set in motion the beginnings of an awareness campaign. However, I was not alone. Following the intense national publicity, several parents of children with nut allergy came forward and we formed the core group of the Anaphylaxis Campaign. As knowledge of the group spread, we found we were overwhelmed with letters from families similarly affected: 60-70 per day in the first few weeks. By early 2000, membership stood at around 5500. Members pay £5 a year.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign, a registered charity, has its central office at 2 Clockhouse Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7QY. It exists to campaign and raise awareness of anaphylaxis, to ensure that those affected have adequate guidance and treatments, and to promote research into severe allergies. Information is spread by means of leaflets, newsletters, videos, and a telephone helpline. The Campaign is run by an executive committee (largely comprising people directly affected by allergies) and is guided by some of the UK's leading medical experts in the allergy field.
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