The Food and Chemical Allergy Association, based at 27 Ferringham Lane, Ferring, West Sussex BN12 5NB, came into being as a result of a letter sent to a daily newspaper in 1976 by its founder, Ellen Rothera. She had been ill for eight years and came to believe that food allergies due to a malfunctioning immune system were the root cause. She managed to stabilise her condition and make a recovery. Ellen's letter to the Daily Express was not only published, but given a leading position. As a result she was inundated with letters and telephone calls from people desperately seeking answers to their own medical conditions. A small group gathered for a meeting and formed an association, which set out to find doctors with knowledge of allergy, learn from them and continue in a self-help role. A committee was formed and a secretary appointed to answer all enquirers.
The FCAA continued in this manner for some years but eventually its role was changed to that of an advisory service. Today the association, still run by Ellen Rothera, seeks to provide information on all forms of allergy-induced illness and encourage people to look for the causes of their conditions instead of relying automatically on drugs to suppress the symptoms. The organisation provides general information on food allergy and chemical sensitivity and specific information on the more common forms of allergic reaction. It accepts that its approach to chronic illness, and the role that may sometimes be played by food, is not always accepted by the British Medical Association.
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