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Conquering Food Allergies Head On

Ian Kearney is an 18-year-old from Las Vegas, who now attends college in Iowa and plays Division 3 soccer. He was born with food allergies and has had to restrict his eating to the same few foods that he knows are safe.

Ian Kearney receiving a checkup from a nurse

“I’ve been allergic to dairy, beef and other red meats, eggs and pork, pretty much my whole life,” explained Ian. “Before going off to college, I wanted to find out if there are other foods that I can eat safely.”

“It’s been remarkable to be here,” said Ian’s mom Dana Kearney, describing their experience at National Jewish Health for Kids. “In the Day Program, they listened and didn’t just say ‘avoid those foods.’ They circled around Ian and focused on all that he’s gone through and what his goals are — to eat other foods and to be safe at college.”

“I was kind of resistant to coming here, but I’m so glad I did,” said Ian. “I have learned more in a few days here than I have from all the other allergists I’ve seen. I won’t outgrow the dairy or beef allergies, but I have some new foods that I can eat and a protein shake that I can have before and after soccer. I even know how to give myself epinephrine. It was scary to have a severe reaction during the beef food challenge, but they talked me through how to inject myself, and now I know I can do it if I ever need to again.”

“You’ve given my son answers we couldn’t get at home, new foods to eat, new information to manage his allergies, new treatment options and a whole group of people who really care for Ian. You all have been amazing,” said Dana.


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