“Because it was so hard for me to eat out (especially desserts), my mom taught me to bake, and this really unlocked my creative side. I grew up baking and doing any kind of art I could imagine. Painting and drawing are a way for me to de-stress (especially from school) and express my feelings.”
Ever since I was 13 months old and diagnosed with an anaphylactic peanut allergy, food outside of my home meant fear and anxiety. Because it was so hard for me to eat out (especially desserts), my mom taught me to bake, and this really unlocked my creative side. I grew up baking and doing any kind of art I could imagine. Painting and drawing are a way for me to de-stress (especially from school) and express my feelings.
I started the Tolerance Induction Program at age 18, after learning about it from a TIP patient on Facebook. When I first introduced peanuts with TIP in January 2021, my friend sent me a digital image of myself before the appointment with encouraging words and phrases around me telling me how “I can do it” and “I am brave”. It brought my whole family to tears just thinking about how we’ve avoided peanuts for almost 18 years and now I will intentionally be eating them. The encouragement I felt going into my appointment that day was unreal. And with those positive feelings, I began to think how these personalized drawings could mean so much to other patients.
How It Started
Wanting to help other TIP patients, I launched my campaign to sell these personalized patient drawings. It started off slowly, just advertising it through my food allergy Instagram @wildnsun, but soon enough I got tons of orders from people enrolled in TIP that didn’t even follow me! I soon felt support from people I’d never met – other TIP patients who, like me, were on a journey to food freedom. It’s a blessing to me that I can support other patients as my friend did for me through my art… not to mention that these drawings can give me something to do when I’m in a very dry, boring accounting lecture at school!
To make my drawings, I use a personal picture and redraw it into a digital image, and then I add encouraging words and phrases specifically tailored to your journey in TIP (or whatever you would like the image to say). Then I send you the image so we can share our support for each other even if we’ve never met!
I’ve turned these drawings into a fundraiser for SoCal Food Allergy Institute where I donate part of the proceeds. I want to help other people receive the life-changing treatment I am so grateful for. I want anyone with food allergies to have a chance of food freedom! If you are a TIP patient (or would simply like to support this TIP fundraiser), you can order a drawing from me either through my Instagram @wildnsun (preferred) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve loved being able to support TIP in this way that is tailored to my talents. It really brings my story full circle.