Hi my name is Zachary and I am 13 years old. I was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) at 13 months of age. I have had this disease my entire life.
Besides EoE, I have food allergies. In the beginning I was on formula only (an elemental diet, which is only amino acid-based nutrition) because there weren’t any foods that were safe for me to eat. When I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade, I switched to Neocate Splash. I was happy to switch to Splash because it is premade in a drink box so I could just put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes and voila! There’s my meal! Throughout the years, the number of safe foods that I have has grown. Right now, I have around 40 safe foods. In the last three years alone I have gained 5 foods.
EoE impacts my everyday life since it restricts what foods I can eat. It has forced me to plan ahead by being prepared for every scenario. If I want to go to a restaurant with my friends, I have to make sure that there is something on the menu safe for me to eat, or bring my own food. I also have to bring my epinephrine auto-injector everywhere I go.
I am very excited that this week is National Eosinophil Awareness Week because I have a personal connection with its origin. In 2007, my family helped the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED) to get this special week declared. I was one of the kid ambassadors that went to talk to members of Congress about eosinophilic esophagitis. That was one of the best things that came out of having EoE!
For more information about EoE and National Eosinophil Awareness Week, please check out www.apfed.org.