Every school day, for the last 10 years, mum Emma anxiously checks her watch at lunchtime and waits for a phone call. A call from her daughter’s school to say she has had a severe allergic reaction. Thankfully, the phone is yet to ring.
Emma’s 15-year-old daughter, Rhiannon, has a severe egg allergy and reacts to trace amount of egg – even cross-contamination. Understandably, there’s a no egg policy in the household, even products containing any trace of egg. And eating out is a no-no. It’s no wonder that Emma is “constantly living on my nerves” when Rhiannon is out and about.
Final piece of the puzzle
It was a family Sunday roast beef dinner, with all the trimmings, that confirmed Emma and husband Chris’s suspicions that their then 2-year-old daughter was reacting to the egg in the Yorkshire pudding. Skin tests and hospital appointments with a specialist paediatric followed, and a diagnosis came soon after.
While it was a relief to finally pinpoint the cause of Rhiannon’s skin rashes and wheezing after mealtimes, the diagnosis turned the family’s life upside down. The early days were a frightening time for Emma and Chris, with question after question running through their minds. How will we do this? How would Rhiannon cope growing up? What would the future hold?
A phone call away
One phone call to the Anaphylaxis Campaign’s Helpline soon after melted away initial worries and uncertainties, leaving Emma reassured, informed and empowered to put in place positive management of her daughter’s allergies.
From that day, the Anaphylaxis Campaign has been the family’s go-to. Whether it’s a search on the website for the clinical, evidence-based advice for daily allergen management, or receiving all the benefits of the annual membership – including up to date product allergy alerts and access to training courses so the family can be ready in case of emergency – we will always be there for the Aue family and others who turn to us in their hour of need.
A gift today could provide important guidance and reassurance to teenagers, like Rhiannon, who we want to keep safe as they start to explore the wide world on their own.
Double decker disappointment
The clock watching after mealtimes doesn’t stop for Emma, even at Christmas. In fact, the usual ‘safety net’ procedure of checking product labels and having a heightened sense of awareness when out and about ramps up during the festivities, with allergens finding their way into a variety of seasonal products and environments.
“It’s the little things that massively impact someone” says Emma. For Rhiannon, it was the introduction of the Double Decker chocolate – which contains egg – in the Cadbury’s Heroes selection tub that meant she could no longer enjoy these family favourites at Christmas.
And it’s not just some sweet treats that are off the menu. As a teenage girl wanting to experiment with make-up and all things beauty, gifts can sometimes be a little tricky for friends and family members to buy. With many branded lipsticks, eyeshadows, nail varnish and other cosmetics in danger of coming into contact with egg products during production, any gifts kindly received are briefly quarantined and the labelling checked by Emma before coming into the home.
Now that Rhiannon is 15, Emma admits it’s a terrifying thought of letting go, but she is very aware that they must give Rhiannon the freedom and independence. As a family, they are starting to talk about the ‘safe risks’ Rhiannon will have to take with each new life chapter.
Always trying to find the positives and using her allergy for the good to help others, Emma is proud of Rhiannon for never complaining and taking it all in her stride. “The allergy is who I am, and I don’t know any different. People ask what’s it like to not enjoy a slice of cake, but I’ve never had it, so I don’t know what I’m missing!” Rhiannon says.
A Message from the Aue Family
“Thank you for supporting the Anaphylaxis Campaign, who has been a lifeline for our family. Over the years, it has been reassuring to have someone there, someone with the medical and clinical advice to guide us as parents on this journey.”