Sophomore Rachel Britton '26 is a passionate advocate for food allergy awareness and research, a cause she has been immersed in since her early years. She has severe peanut and tree nut allergies that can lead to anaphylaxis, as well as allergies to other foods and antibiotics.
When Rachel was younger, she sold lemonade in her neighborhood and participated in walkathons to support the national organization FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), which seeks to enhance the lives of individuals with food allergies through education and advocacy.
Now that she is a teen, Rachel volunteers to serve as an advocate by participating in FARE’s Courage at Congress event. Last March, she traveled to Washington, DC, for three days to take part in advocacy training sessions and meetings with legislative officials. She and three others from North Carolina met with staffers from Senator Thom Tillis’ office and in person with U.S. Representative Jeff Jackson (District 14).
“It was an incredible experience,” Rachel said. “I learned so much and made a lot of connections with people like me who care about this issue. I feel very fortunate that I got to talk with Mr. Jackson directly. He made time for us, really listened, and asked good questions.”
Rachel shared her personal story and advocated for the passage of the ADINA Act. “An interesting thing about some of the medicines used to treat severe allergies is that they may contain one of the top nine allergens, but it’s not listed on the label,” explains Rachel. FARE is advocating for better label laws.
Well-versed in legislative initiatives, Rachel has attended previous Courage at Congress events, which were online due to the pandemic. In 2022, she advocated for a longer shelf life of epinephrine auto-injectors to make them more accessible for families.
When Rachel was in Lower School, she says her teachers always made her feel included, and the nurses always checked on her. In all the years here, Rachel has always felt safe with her allergies on campus and during school outings. But not all school children have that sense of inclusion and protection. She and her fellow advocates in FARE are trying to pass S.121 (Protecting Children with Food Allergies Act), legislation that would help make schools safer and more inclusive.
Rachel says that the skills she has learned while a student at Country Day have been a great asset in advocating for a cause she cares about deeply.
Rachel Britton '26
Country Day has taught me how to do research correctly, how to present myself in a formal manner without bias or divisiveness, and how to speak clearly.
She hopes to continue to spread awareness about food allergies both here on campus and by continuing to attend Courage at Congress. She says, “If you’re determined to fight for what you believe in, then it’s possible for you to make change.”