That One Guy Who’s Allergic to Everything

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That One Guy Who’s Allergic to Everything

Tess Dorman, Features Editor

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“When I was in preschool, there was a day that I forgot to bring a lunch, so my teacher gave me mac-n-cheese. I had never had it before, so I tried it, but then I had an allergic reaction and almost died.”

His mac-n-cheese story is one of many near-death experiences Westin Chamberlain has encountered in his lifetime. He’s allergic to over ten types of foods, so obviously, Westin has run into some trouble.

The three words Westin Chamberlain uses to describe himself are “curious, unlucky, and odd,” three very accurate words I came to find out. His excessive allergies seem to cover all three of these descriptions, but there’s more to Westin than just three simple words. He’s a hard-working, caring, and hilarious person… who just so happens to be allergic to pretty much everything.

Westin Chamberlain is a junior at Linn-Mar High School. In his free time, Westin enjoys eating, sleeping, and brainstorming what he called ‘flex ideas.’

“I thought of this idea of putting magnetic levitation in a skateboard so you could make a hover-board, but someone already thought of it.”

Yes, ‘odd’ is fairly evident, but what most people don’t realize about Westin is that he’s an exceptionally caring person. It can be hard to see past his jokes and strange sense of humor, but if you look a little further, you can find a compassionate side to Westin.

What is Westin passionate about?

His simple but sweet response: “Making people’s lives better.”

If you ask any student in the hallways of Linn-Mar High School about Westin Chamberlain, they’ll probably reply with something along the lines of, “You mean that one guy who’s allergic to everything?” While it’s undeniable that Westin is widely-known for his abundance of allergies, there’s certainly more to Westin than his inability to consume a variety of foods. Nonetheless, Westin’s allergies have played a substantial role in his life. Westin’s major food-related allergies include wheat, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, flour, gluten, and shellfish.

“I can really only eat meats, fruits, vegetables, and sugars,” said Westin, after listing off his numerous allergies.

“I went to this place in Wisconsin where they test for allergies; they tested me for 36 things and I was allergic to all of them.”

Westin and his family are still unsure of how his allergies came about.

“Nobody else in my family has allergies, I just got unlucky I guess.”

One thing is certain, though, Westin’s allergies cause all sorts of annoyances in his everyday life.

“It’s weird [living with so many allergies], if I look at a menu at a restaurant, I can only order a few things. Also, I have to make a lot of substitutions when ordering food, which can either make my meal more or less expensive when I go out.”

His many allergies come with plenty of scary and unimaginable allergy-related horror stories. Westin most definitely has a few. His favorite story to tell and likely the scariest is the time he was airlifted to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital after eating a peanut in sixth grade.

“I was at school and decided to eat a peanut because I wanted to try one; for some reason I didn’t think peanuts were like the tree nuts I knew I was allergic to. After eating it, I went to my next class and started feeling really sick and was like ‘oh shoot’ so I went to the nurse’s office. As soon as I got there, I puked all over the floor. Luckily, my dad works at the school so he was able to drive me to Urgent Care. I blacked out in the parking lot, all I remember is the doctors putting me in a wheelchair. Then I was apparently airlifted to the U of I Children’s Hospital. I remember waking up with a breathing tube and I was so tired. My sixth grade girlfriend’s birthday party was the next day, I was on a bunch of meds, and so I was wandering around zonked in front of her parents.”

Even though it can be difficult, Westin tries not to let his allergies get him down or stand in his way. He knows that there are a lot of things that he absolutely cannot eat under any circumstances but he admits to making a few risky decisions when it comes to what he can and can’t eat as he’s gotten older.