At the age of 12, Caeli Anne Rice was visiting her sister in Killeen, Texas and was bitten by a Lone Star tick.
The bite resulted in her contracting a rare allergy to red meat due to Galactose-Alpha-1, which was virally transmitted by the Lone Star tick.
She first discovered her allergy after attending an event on St. Patrick’s Day. That night at midnight, Rice, now 16, woke up with an itchy scalp and hives all over her body.
“I can eat chicken, turkey and fish, but in the long run, it’s healthier for me to not eat red meats,’’ Rice of Old Lyme said.
Rice attends Lyme-Old Lyme High School and participates in the school’s fall play and winter musical. She also plays on the tennis team and is part of the select singers, community service club, student leaders club and the school’s chapter of Amnesty International. She works at the Carousel Shop in Old Lyme.
Rice isn’t sure if she wants to be a teacher or a journalist. If she takes the journalism path, she would like to work for Time magazine. If she becomes a teacher, she said she would like to work with elementary school students.
Rice said she plans on applying to the University of Connecticut, Syracuse University, Suffolk University and Temple University. She has three older siblings and two nephews.
In her free time, Rice enjoys volunteering at a church near her, helping in its soup kitchen. She attends Christ the King in Old Lyme, and sings in the choir.
“I like to dance, sing, hike and bake,’’ Rice said.
Andra Mayers is a student at Achievement First, Hartford Academy.