Sunbury anaphylaxis and allergies support group

Kara Gifford is looking to start a group to support young people with anaphylaxis and allergies in Sunbury. (Supplied: Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health)

Kara Gifford is leading an initiative to support young people with anaphylaxis and allergies in Sunbury.

The 20-year-old Hume Young Advocacy Leader wants to start a local support group to make a positive difference to the lives of 15 to 21-year-olds and help them lead as normal a life as they can.

Living with a number of severe food and medication allergies, as well as chronic health conditions exacerbated by her allergies, Ms Gifford has been vocal in raising awareness about the struggle of people with allergies or diseases.

“I know how hard it can be to live with life threatening allergies,” Ms Gifford said.

“It can impact so many everyday activities – eating out, travel, finding a job, going to parties – as well as having an impact on a person’s mental health.”

She is one of 10 peer mentors for the National Allergy Strategy, linking up teens and young adults with trained mentors.

Through education, and by building local support networks, Ms Gifford wants to help people manage their allergies and therefore, their whole wellbeing.

Last year, she spoke to Sunbury community leaders as part of Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health’s Kid X Plus program. The opportunity to form a group is her next step in her advocacy.

“I understand the anxiety and trauma people face living with allergies, how it affects your social life and making friends. I didn’t want to feel different growing up, I just wanted to fit in and feel normal,” she said.

To sign up go to:

To contact Ms Gifford for more information, email:

Elsie Lange