Bullied Winnipeg teen teaching peers about food allergies
Hannah Lank, 17, has experienced social isolation due to the fact that she has a food allergy
A Winnipeg teen with food allergies is teaching her peers how to help in the case of a crisis.
“I think it is important to teach people about food allergies,” said 17-year-old Hannah Lank.
Lank has a severe peanut allergy she has been living with since she was a baby.
"When you have food allergies, people don't always understand how serious it can be, so you have to always be willing to explain, to educate, and that's how I believe we are going to get past the issue of food allergy bullying," said Lank.
She’s made it her mission to educate her school-aged peers on the severity and dangers of being exposed to food allergens.
Lank’s first allergic reaction happened when she was two-years-old when she consumed a dish with peanuts in it at a restaurant.
Over the years Lank has learned to always read labels, but the allergy has also at times brought with it things like social isolation.
“When it is difficult to go out to restaurants or to parties because you don't know if you can eat the food, I guess it just makes you feel like you're not part of the group and feel uncomfortable or different and that can be tough for a lot of people,” said Lank.
When Lank was five-years-old, her friends played a prank on her that could’ve resulted in a serious allergic reaction.
“They had filled up my mailbox with peanuts and obviously that was just ignorance, they didn't understand that these peanuts could kill me,” said Lank.
She has tried to teach her friends and colleagues what to do in the event she or someone else has a reaction, giving presentations to students so they know what it’s like to have a food allergy.
She has taught nearly 1,200 students how to use an injector on someone having an allergic reaction.
Lank’s mom is proud her daughter has used her allergy to help ensure the safety of others.
“One of the easiest things that has to be done in case of a reaction is to administer an EpiPen,” said Lanks mother. “It takes seconds to learn how to administer this thing and it will save a life.”