Welcome! I’m a current college student living with severe food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, and fish. I’m studying public policy and economics with a minor in leadership studies at the University of Denver (DU). I helped with the passage of SB 09-226, a law in Colorado requiring all school districts to have a policy to keep food allergic children safe at school, and helped flipped senators and representatives from a “no” to a “yes” vote through testimony.
I’m a Boettcher Scholar, an Eagle Scout, a member of the DU Pioneer Leadership Program, and the President of the University of Denver Roosevelt Institute – a student non-profit organization focused on empowering young generations in political change. My main focus with food allergies is self-advocacy: empowering food allergic children to be their own advocates in every avenue of life – school, friends, flying, and yes, even the dreaded dating scene. I’ve been a member of the FAAN Teen Advisory Board and the FAACT Teen Advisory Board.
When I was 9 years old, my Mom asked if I wanted to share some short and simple insights about living with food allergies that she was going to send it out on her monthly e-mail newsletter. I answered her six short questions and Morgan’s Corner was born.
From December 2005 (age 9):
The purpose of “Morgan’s Corner” is for parents and food allergic children to get a kid’s perspective on allergies. Not only do food allergies have a physical component, there’s the whole psychological aspect also. Being included with friends is difficult enough, and food allergies can impede that inclusion!
How old are you Morgan?
I’m 9 years old and in the 4th grade.
What are you allergic to?
Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and sesame. I’m also allergic to dogs and cats, although it’s mostly anything that’s alive with fur on it. Although those are but a few of what I am really allergic to, those are my main.
Do you ever remember not having allergies?
No, I do not remember not having food allergies. I was really young when we found out, so I don’t remember.
What’s the worst part of your allergies? In other words, what do you wish you could change?
I don’t know really what the worst part is. It’s either not going over to a friend’s house or I can’t eat something. I also wish that I did not have dog allergies just because a lot of my friends have dogs, so they have to come over to my house instead of me going over to theirs.
Have you ever been teased because of your allergies?
Well, twice actually. Once, a friend of mine went running around the playground, of course chasing me, holding a peanut butter cracker and yelling “Eat it Morgan! Eat it!” Another time is when another one of my friends actually went around chasing me pretending to be a peanut butter sandwich. All these times, I went and told the teacher and they did get in to trouble. We’re friends now, and I don’t think about it much anymore.
Have you ever been left out of activities because of your allergies? If so, what? How did that feel?
Food Fights, Food Fights, and more Food Fights. Seriously, I have to either not participate, or check the labels on all foods at a party at school. That usually takes a long time though. It sometimes felt great that I’m safe, but I also want to participate. I have also been left out when my 1st grade classroom went next door and I couldn’t go in. The classroom wasn’t peanut free. I told my teacher how it felt to be left out. She cried, and it didn’t happen again.
Morgan’s Corner lasted for eight years, running until December of 2013. I shared everything that happened in my life, from bullying situations, allergic reactions, growing up, making friends, transitioning to middle school, going on field trips, transitioning to high school, going to tournaments, being involved outside of school, dating, traveling across the country, advocating for myself, preparing for college, and so much more. I eventually transitioned into a monthly “column” instead of answering questions from my Mom. This column earned me national fame – ranging from being interviewed on NBC Nightly News to being a speaker to both teens and adults at conferences across the nation.
I am so excited to have a new corner.
I believe that every child with food allergies can have a normal life. There are a lot of things “normal” kids have to consider: school, friends, traveling, dating, sports, and the list goes on. That doesn’t change for us! We just have to consider how food factors into our everyday life, at school, while traveling, while going to sleepovers, while going on a date, etc.
I’m currently 20 years old attending the University of Denver. I live in the dorms, I go on dates, I have really close friends, I travel by myself, and I eat in the dining halls and at restaurants. I have a pretty normal life despite having severe food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, and fish. This isn’t a quirk either: I’ve worked hard to make sure I eat safe food and I avoid contact with my allergens. I believe that every child with food allergies can learn how to self-advocate and lead a normal life.
The purpose of my new corner is to share my experiences about living with food allergies. My blog will feature updates on life in college, traveling, and eating out. I’ve produced three e-books that are available on this site about traveling with food allergies, college with food allergies, and a collection of all of my previous Morgan’s Corner that outlines a history of growing up with food allergies that encompasses all of my earlier years in life.
You should e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, have problems with the site, or if you just want to chat! I’m always available and happy to answer your questions.