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  • Writer's pictureZerrin Dulger

My Gift to the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

As some of you may know, I have done three food challenges at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in Mt. Sinai. My previous post, “My Food Challenge Experience at Mt. Sinai” will provide more information on the challenge if you are interested!

While the idea of doing a Food Challenge excited me, it scared me more than anything at the time. I was scared that I would not pass the challenge. I was scared of having an allergic reaction. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a reaction and my own nerves. However, after I completed my first challenge I realized it was not nearly as daunting as I had imagined. The staff at Mt. Sinai made me feel incredibly safe.

It was important to me that I paid their generosity forward. After previously being treated for an anaphylactic reaction at my local hospital I volunteered there and donated snacks to front line workers. Since Mt. Sinai was an hour away from where I lived in New York City, coming up with an idea of what I could do to give back was a bit more challenging. I wanted to not only give back to the incredible staff at Mt. Sinai, but also make sure that no other kid felt the way that I did going into a food challenge. One extremely important think I lacked: an idea.

As the years went on and I started my blog, the Food Allergy Awareness Club at my high school, and led different fundraisers, Mt. Sinai was always in the back of my mind. Last winter break over quarantine an idea hit me while I was painting. I wanted to create hand made cards with inspirational messages to kids doing food challenges.

I have loved drawing and creating ever since I was little, and I take every opportunity I can to make art. Partially because I enjoy it, and partially because I think it is important for future generations to value art in an era built around technology (but that’s off topic haha 😂). I spent my whole winter break researching, drawing, coloring, trashing, and repeating the cycle until I had finally created four cards that I was happy with (pictured below). I also created handmade bracelets to include in the package. In the following weeks it was all about production. By the end of it all I had braided 100 bracelets and drawn and written 100 cards.

It had been a few weeks since the package was delivered, but I later received an Instagram message from one of the kids who received my cards. There is no feeling better than knowing you made a positive impact on someone. I was swelled with joy. I am so happy that I was able to make a difference with this donation.



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