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The seriousness of nut allergies: fundraising to raise awareness

The seriousness of nut allergies: fundraising to raise awareness

Throughout her life, Amy May Shead followed a strict nut-free diet to protect herself from a serious nut allergy. In 2014, she travelled to Budapest with friends for what was supposed to be a relaxing long weekend away.

On the third day of Amy’s trip, Amy ordered a simple meal in a restaurant, having followed her lifelong stringent habit of making known to staff her dietary requirements, which whilst abroad, included showing the waiting staff an allergy information card printed in the local language stating that she suffered a potentially fatal allergy. Amy was assured several times that the meal that she had chosen was free from all nut products.

After one bite however, Amy went into anaphylactic shock. She suffered a cardiac arrest on the pavement and died for six minutes. With her friends watching helplessly, paramedics fought to save Amy’s life in the road outside of the restaurant. She was then rushed to hospital in Budapest and immediately put into an induced coma. Amy had sustained a severe brain injury
due to lack of oxygen. Her brain had been starved for six minutes, and her life was being maintained by a life support machine. Amy spent more than two years in Hungarian and English hospitals and three years in a specialist care facility. Now, a 31-year-old woman, Amy can no longer walk, talk or see

Following Amy’s harrowing incident, her family formed the Amy May Trust to support Amy’s recovery whilst raising awareness of the seriousness of nut allergies. Through the Trust, Amy’s family and supporters are raising money to provide therapy for Amy, while also educating people about the seriousness of nut allergies and the consequences of severe anaphylactic shock.



Raising funds through bespoke merchandise

In addition to donations, one effective way the Trust raises money to support Amy is through the sale of bespoke merchandise. Custom merchandise is a key component of the Amy May Trust’s fundraising efforts, and the Trust aims to redefine how people shop for charitable items by focusing on high quality products, thoughtful design and items created with care, and with Amy
in mind.


#NutAllergiesAREserious on the Amy May Trust purple wristband

#NutAllergiesAREserious is the message on the Amy May Trust wristband


In honour of its fourth anniversary, the Amy May Trust released the Amy May Trust bracelet, which not only brings in donations, but also showcases peoples’ support for the work the Trust is doing to spread awareness of nut allergies. The wristband features a solid dual-sided disk with the name of the Trust enamelled in purple. To date, the Trust has sold more than 2,000 of these bracelets and they have raised more than £15,000 to support its efforts. The bracelets were also featured on ITV’s This Morning, where Amy previously worked. As a family run effort, the Amy May Trust operates with limited funds and resources and the charity bracelets have helped boost the Trust’s vital fundraising efforts.


Amy May Trust wristband worn on a womans wrist


Tapping into hashtags to raise awareness

Aside from helping Amy recover, The Amy May Trust is on a mission to help educate the wider community on the severity of nut allergies. By increasing awareness of nut allergies, the Trust hopes to prevent another tragic incident like Amy’s. One way the Trust is spreading its message is through the hashtag #nutallergiesAREserious, which is prominently featured on the Amy May Trust bracelet.

The hashtag has become an integral part of the Amy May Trust’s awareness campaign and is helping to expand the Trust’s reach through social media. Supporters can get involved by joining in on the conversation. Many choose to do so by posting pictures of their Amy May Trust bracelet using the hashtags, which can be an incredibly effective way to raise awareness of a specific cause. The key is to select an effective hashtag that will clearly communicate your message and resonate with supporters. The hashtag #nutallergiesAREserious works well because it’s distinct and to-the-point.


Amy May Trust purple flag in the breeze, with hashtag #NutAllergiesAREserious

Flying the flag for the message #NutAllergiesAREserious


Creating your own fundraising merchandise

Charity bracelets can go a long way in raising funds, connecting with supporters and spreading your charity’s message far and wide. When it comes to designing an effective charity bracelet, you should always consider how it fits into your own fundraising strategy and supports your charity’s brand. The Amy May Trust bracelet for example offers an understated, yet informative
accessory that clearly communicates the Trust’s core message. The bracelet’s design and quality materials create a product that people will want to wear, and in turn, be seen wearing.

The Amy May Trust is just one example of how charitable organisations can effectively use bespoke merchandise to support an important cause. From bringing in much-needed funds to raising the visibility of issues, charity bracelets have the potential to be so much more than just a covetable accessory.


Veena Dookoo is Director of Rocket Charities, a supplier of ethical fundraising merchandise. For more information and to read more about their ethical and sustainable approach visit or follow them on Twitter @RocketCharities.


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