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Fayetteville student creates online support group for kids with food allergies

Hemali Gauri dealt with food allergies and wanted to help other kids and parents by providing a community to share information and experiences.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Food allergies can be dangerous and sometimes you might not even know what you’re allergic to until you’re already having a reaction. A Haas Hall student has created a way to help other kids with food allergies.

Despite what you might see in the movies… food allergies are no laughing matter, just ask high school junior Hemali Gauri. She started battling food allergies a few years ago, leading her to create the website K12Allergies

"We had to do the skin prick test, which is the usual test for food allergy diagnosis and it came back inconclusive, so that meant we had to do a food journal and elimination diet, which basically meant taking out food allergens, common allergens for weeks at a time and then tracking my reaction," Gauri said. "It was like a really big process and so having that made me realize that this is something people go through and it’s really tough."

That struggle inspired her to do something to help others struggling with food allergies and she created a food allergy support group for kids.

"Basically it’s just helping with the diagnosis of food allergies and kids' allergies and living with them," Gauri said. "It’s growing, it’s like a global collection of like 45 plus stories from these parents who just tell about their kid’s story and the tips that they have."

And as any parent knows, being able to share experiences can make a big difference and Gauri understands that.

"That’s where K12Allergies comes in, there’s like a search function where you can search all the people who have put in their stories…and like what they're allergic to, and then you can find people who are similar to your experience to learn from.”

Learning, growing and helping others has now become Gauri's mission.

"I know that my site is making a difference in new food allergy parents' lives and I’m very thankful that I could make that difference and I could kind of be there for something I would have wanted when I was going through the process."

It’s safe to say that she’s already been making a difference and will probably keep making a difference for a long time. 

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