The Anaphylaxis Campaign, founded by a small group of parents, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The campaign was founded in 1994 by a small group of parents led by David Reading OBE.
Mr Reading’s daughter, Sarah, tragically died aged 17 from anaphylaxis triggered by a peanut in October 1993.
Her death, and others that were triggered by nuts, became national news and it was clear there was very little awareness of how serious allergy could be.
The campaign accrued 1,000 members in just six months and began lobbying government to provide better allergy care, including a meeting with Nicholas Soames, Minister of Food in early 1994 and set about convincing the food industry of the importance of clear accurate food labelling.
A helpline for those affected was launched and in the last 20 years has taken over 100,000 calls.
The campaign produced accurate information about allergens and a programme of workshops and support groups was launched to support patients, their families and carers, while school nurses were trained on how to safely manage and care for allergic pupils. The list of its activities is still growing but the campaign says its original objective remains the same – to help people with severe allergies live their lives.
Mr Reading became part-time director in 1996, and full-time director in the summer of 1999. He was awarded an OBE for his work in 2005.
He retired from full-time work with the campaign at the end of 2009, but retains the title of honorary vice president and works part-time for the organisation at its office in Farnborough, Hampshire.