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Uche’s book describes her journey to allergy-free family life





Dr Uche Okorji-Obike’s first book, Thrive, Allergy Free – A Journey to a Life Unlimited by Food Allergies, is now on sale.

Dr Uche Okorji-Obike’s first book, ‘Thrive, Allergy Free – A Journey to a Life Unlimited by Food Allergies’, is now on sale. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Uche Okorji-Obike’s first book, ‘Thrive, Allergy Free – A Journey to a Life Unlimited by Food Allergies’, is now on sale. Picture: Keith Heppell

The 35-year-old scientist, who lives in Soham, couldn’t believe it when her three-month-old daughter was diagnosed with a cow’s milk allergy despite being exclusively breastfed.

She has a BSc in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen, an MSc in Drug Discovery from the University of Bradford and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Huddersfield where her focus was on neuroinflammation. Since completing her PhD, she has been working in the pharmaceutical industry – she is a senior scientist at AstraZeneca – supporting the development of new treatments for various diseases. She is also a member of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology and holds a Nutrition and Wellbeing certificate (2020) from the University of Aberdeen.

Combining scientific information with her personal story, her book details how children and their families can thrive with allergies.

“My daughter was diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) and egg allergy at three months old, even though she had been exclusively breastfed,” says Uche.

She adds: “Professionally, I am a scientist who spent my PhD years studying inflammation – the underlying mechanism associated with most diseases including allergies. Despite that, even I found the experience overwhelming at first as I learned the realisation of what was ahead and navigated life through diagnosis to the management of the food allergies.

‘Thrive, Allergy Free – A Journey to a Life Unlimited by Food Allergies’ cover. Picture: Keith Heppell
‘Thrive, Allergy Free – A Journey to a Life Unlimited by Food Allergies’ cover. Picture: Keith Heppell

“My goal is to help make life easy-peasy for families of children with allergies, and I am confident that the book will enlighten and help others going through a similar situation.”

Throughout the book Uche shares her family’s journey with their daughter’s food allergies, covering the winding path to a diagnosis, the unexpectant successes, parental anxiety and living with the management of food. This combined with the most up-to-date scientific information, which Uche gives in an easy to understand and digestible way, culminates into an insightful short guide on how children and their families can navigate life with allergies.

Lydia Collins-Hussey, clinical dietetic advisor, Allergy UK, reviewed the book and said: “Receiving a diagnosis of a food allergy can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, particularly for parents with a young child who may already be overwhelmed by parenthood. Uche provides an honest account of the diagnosis and management of food allergy in her little girl, Chimamanda.

Dr Uche Okorji-Obike, scientist, author and Soham resident. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Uche Okorji-Obike, scientist, author and Soham resident. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Her book also weaves in the most up-to-date scientific information in an easy to understand and digestible way. She reflects on all aspects of Chimamanda’s condition and care including her eczema, allergy testing, how she dealt with reintroduction, as well as the importance of getting timely advice from specialists in the field. The account not only offers practical support for children with food allergies, but also helps to reduce parental anxiety and reinforces the importance of self-care.

“Lived experiences of others are a valuable way of building knowledge around how to manage food allergies. Diverse representation in the voice of this lived experience is vital for conveying how allergy does not discriminate; it really can affect anyone of us. Uche recognises that as someone of African heritage and with a scientific background, her journey is a unique addition to the conversation around allergy.

“I have no doubt that this book will help those in the allergic community who are feeling lost and seeking reassurance from someone who has gone from diagnosis right through to resolution.”

Uche has also founded ‘Tots2Teens Allergies’, an online allergy resource for discussion and finding services to help others.



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