Sisters develop a ‘nut-free’ dating site

Woman_wLaptop_123RF_wAllergenProfile2Do you enjoy long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and watching the sunset fade into the night? Do you also have food allergies? If so, Mr. (or Mrs.) Right could be just a few clicks away thanks to the newest online dating website — allergicattraction.com.

Made specifically for young adults with food allergies, allergicattraction.com was created by two sisters from New Jersey to help those with food allergies meet one another and find commonality amongst the approximately 4% of adults who have varying degrees of food allergies in the U.S.

The concept came to the sisters, Arianne Schreer and Alexis Pizzurro, when Schreer’s 12-year-old son, William, was being treated for an anaphylactic allergic reaction after eating a piece of fudge that he didn’t know had crushed walnuts in it. “How did this happen right in our home,” Schreer said in a recent article, “where we had always been so careful?”

But as William recovered, Schreer and Pizzurro began to wonder how they could prevent this from happening again and, even more important, how they could keep him safe in the future when he no longer lives at home.

“We started thinking, ‘What happens when he goes to college?’” Schreer said.”What if he has a roommate that wants to put Nutella all over his food? What happens when he goes to kiss a girl or they’re all going out to dinner? That’s how this whole website came to be.”

The website has now become the sisters’ side job and as they described it, their “labor of love.” However, the site is not just for finding romantic connections.

“You could date [on the site] but you could also find a roommate or find a friend to eat dinner with, groups in college,” Pizzurro, said in the article.  “Kids tend to be so shy about coming forward with anything that’s different — like, ‘I can’t eat there.’ They just kind of go along with it. Every college dorm has peanut butter in it and granola bars.”

So, the sisters did their research. They started by looking at other dating websites and talking to local parents of children with food allergies. Then, last September they officially launched their site, which has been growing ever since and now includes specific groups for those with peanut, tree nut, soy, milk, egg, wheat, fish and shellfish allergies.

“We wanted to give kids a fun place for them where they could go socially,” Schreer said in the article. “William cannot go to a Thai restaurant. If everyone’s going out for Thai food, maybe he looks on the website and says, ‘You know what? I have all these friends, maybe they want to go out for pizza.’ … Food is social. You want your kids to be safe too.”

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