Food Allergy Hero Spotlight: Lily Roth
Recent college graduate Lily Roth is a vocal food allergy advocate and volunteer for FARE’s Food Allergy Heroes Walk in Pittsburgh. Lily majored in emergency medicine with a minor in chemistry and plans to attend medical school to become a pediatric emergency physician and an EMS physician. We asked Lily to share a little about what it is like to have food allergies at college and why she walks in FARE’s Food Allergy Heroes Walk.
What are your food allergies?
I have a long list of allergies including many in the top 8 and some allergens that are not considered top 8.
What made you get involved in the walk while away at school?
When I started college, I went in knowing one person. I was 5 hours away from home, in an unfamiliar city, living on my own. I made some amazing friends very quickly. At the time, the Pittsburgh Food Allergy Heroes Walk was in September in a park outside of the city. I remember seeing it was happening and being excited for something familiar as I had taken part in the Philadelphia Food Allergy Heroes Walk when I was still at home. I signed up my friends and we formed team ePITTnephrine. Just being at the walk with people who got it made me relax for probably the first time since getting to college. I felt empowered that I could get over the obstacles of starting college with food allergies.
I was added to the committee list and have helped to plan four Food Allergy Heroes Walks. I’m so excited to continue to be a part of the committee in the future as I plan to stay and work as a paramedic in Pittsburgh before medical school.
What advice would you give to an elementary, middle, or high school student living with food allergies?
I would say don’t let your food allergies dictate what you do or don’t do. I try and make decisions based on if I want to do something or not and then find a way to make it work with my food allergies.
I’d also say that it can be really easy to get wrapped up in avoiding your allergens. We may not be able to prevent 100 percent of reactions but we can always be 100 percent prepared. Don’t forget to always have your medication and access to a way to call 911 if needed.
What is the most fun part of the walks?
I love meeting other people who “get it.”
Why do you walk?
I walk so one day, food allergies don’t have to be a problem for anyone. As a paramedic who has food allergies, I have seen first-hand the effects of food allergies in both my personal life and in the lives of my patients.
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