“You are often told that there is a good possibility that children grow out of their allergies, but this just didn’t seem to be the case for Jasmine. We wished she could just have a break”, says Mandy.
After a long battle to be taken seriously, Jasmine’s first allergy – cows’ milk protein allergy (CMPA) – was diagnosed when she was just six months old. Other allergens were soon added to the list, one after the other, year after year: dairy, eggs, soya, mushrooms, pineapples, cranberries, kiwi, peanuts, tree nuts, chicken, and gluten. Understandable, every day is full of anxiety and great relief for Mandy when her eight-year-old daughter comes home safe from school.
A movie afternoon at home during the school summer holidays will forever haunt Mandy. Three years ago, as she walked into the lounge with a plateful of snacks, Jasmine asked if she could have a salted peanut – she’d had peanuts before, so Mandy thought nothing of it.
Within seconds, Jasmine’s throat was itchy and Mandy ran to get the Piriton. Projectile vomiting followed, so Mandy immediately called 111 to get advice. While on the phone, Jasmine’s face swelled rapidly, hives appeared all over, and her breathing became very hard and fast. She was struggling to stand up. Her eyes were so swollen, like little pin pricks.
An ambulance rapid response car came within minutes, and they saved Jasmine’s life that day.
“I didn’t realise at the time it was an anaphylactic shock. When it sank in and dawned on me that Jasmine could have lost her life, it broke me. I was completely terrified and, if I am honest, I still am that it could happen within seconds once again”.
Desperate for support
Desperate to find support and someone to talk to who truly understood how she was feeling, Mandy came across a Facebook group recommendation for the Anaphylaxis Campaign. She signed up as a member after that and hasn’t looked back.
With access to the Support Groups, AllergyWise courses, product allergy alerts, and invaluable resources to pass onto Jasmine’s school, Mandy doesn’t hesitate to get in touch with the Anaphylaxis Campaign for support and guidance through some of the most testing times.
“It has helped us as a family tremendously just knowing that other people understand our struggles and we are not alone. We are so very grateful that there’s just a phone between me and getting some help” says Mandy.
A gift today could give vital support and reassurance to another parent or carer of a child with severe allergies through some of the most testing times.
Plan, plan, plan and cook, cook, cook
With Christmas almost here, it’s an exciting but nerve-wracking time for the family. Friends and family usually gather at theirs, and it’s all about the planning and batch cooking in Mandy’s household to ensure Jasmine has a safe Christmas.
If the family is out and about, it involves non-food focussed events. For Mandy, there’s lots of ringing around beforehand to double check that there are no peanuts, in particular, in the open, as Jasmine can also react from airborne particles. And the fun of Christmas shopping is replaced with heightened anxiety and fear, so Jasmine tends to stays at home for any outings in town in case any stores have peanuts or loose nut products on display.
One thing Jasmine looks forward to is 1st December, where she will open the first door to her advent calendar. Once a challenge to find safe alternatives, Mandy (and Jasmine!) is very grateful that more and more are available for the allergic community to enjoy.
A message from Mandy
“As a family, we would like to express our gratitude to every single person who donates or has donated to the Anaphylaxis Campaign. It is such a huge support for us and, without them, we would be lost. So please, keep helping where you can as you really are making a life-changing difference for many, just by enabling us to access information and support when we need to.”