For eight year old Eden, who has multiple allergens, he confidently knows the symptoms and what his immediate response would be should he feel a reaction coming on.
But the constant worries and anxieties, bottled up by mum Bal, can sometimes feel heavy and overwhelming. It’s a familiar story to many parents and carers of children with allergies. For Bal, she felt “scooped up” by Anaphylaxis UK in her time of need.
Two spoonfuls of Weetabix one morning completely changed the trajectory of Bal and husband Kul’s parenting journey. Little Eden, then six months old, reacted instantly to his breakfast. Bal scooped up her limp and hive-covered baby and hurried to the GP surgery round the corner for treatment.
Eden’s weaning diet was soon given an overhaul, with wheat off the menu, while the family waited for a referral.
One sunny October day, Bal and nine month old Eden went on the hunt for some cream cakes, visiting three local bakeries for the perfect sweet treat. It was on the walk home that Bal sensed something wasn’t right. Not one to usually fall asleep in the carrier, Eden became sleepy and limp.
Bal picked up the pace to get home, where she soon discovered Eden’s face was swollen and he was unconscious. After an ambulance dash to the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham, Eden was whisked away and administered two adrenaline auto-injector. He was safe, and soon back in his mother’s arms.
Doctors quizzed an emotional Bal about their day. What had Eden eaten? What had Bal eaten? Where had they been? The hunt for a cream cake was the final piece of the puzzle; Eden’s serious reaction that day may have been from accidental exposure to the wheat flour in the air in the bakeries.
“Our world suddenly changed. Looking back, I had no idea of the gravitas that day would have on our future,” says Bal.
The haunting experience of Eden’s second serious allergic reaction led Bal to Anaphylaxis UK. The first phone call with our Helpline team provided much-needed reassurance for Bal, and she walked away armed with evidence-based information and guidance to protect her son.
Over the years the family has kept in touch with the charity as a trusted source for updated evidence-based resources to help make the everyday a little bit easier.
Eden’s school has also been in touch and often refers to our website for relevant information. Eden’s Year 4 teacher recently completed our AllergyWise for Schools training course, designed to ensure all school staff can recognise the signs of a serious allergic reaction and have the confidence to manage this.
But it’s not just the facts that help a family navigate their way through the unknown; it’s the emotional support and comfort from our Helpline team that can empower parents and carers to be confident in managing allergies and be the best advocate for their child.
The family is positive about Eden’s allergies, but secretly it is a “massive worry” for Bal. “The anxiety feels heavy, sometimes,” says Bal. Bal needn’t feel alone; Anaphylaxis UK will continue to be by her side and offer practical and emotional support with every milestone on their allergy journey, when they need us.
“Anaphylaxis UK is a constant in our lives and provides the consistency we need in a landscape that isn’t always clearly signposted. They really do make the ‘everyday’ easier for us, bridging the gap between our home life and consultant appointments. I always feel scooped up by them. What a lifeline!”
A Message from Bal
“Thank you for supporting Anaphylaxis UK. You will probably never know the impact your contribution will have on the daily lives of allergy families, like mine. Just one phone call with the lovely Helpline team, or one factsheet shared with invaluable evidence-based content, can be reassuring for a long time.”