The mum of a six-year-old boy with multiple food allergies, whose life has twice been saved by an EpiPen, is running a half marathon to raise money and awareness for The Anaphylaxis Campaign.
Arthur Blount had oral allergy syndrome when he was a baby, which is where children react around the mouth to fruits. Although he has mostly grown out of this, he now has a long list of food allergies – peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, mustard, sesame, egg, peas, kiwi and melon – and his parents Anna and Tom are constantly checking food labels and ingredients at their home in Fulbeck.
His first allergic reaction was to scrambled egg when he was around eight months old, which caused his lip to swell up. Since then, he has had numerous reactions over the years ranging from hives on his face to projectile vomiting and swelling.
After several 999 calls and hospital admissions, Arthur’s parents had a lot of discussions with medical professionals before he was allowed his own life-saving EpiPen at the age of three. They have realised over the years just how unpredictable allergies are, especially IgE-mediated food allergies and the possibility of anaphylaxis.
His mother Anna, who is a singer and singing teacher, told The Lincolnite she wants to raise awareness of anaphylaxis, its various symptoms and daily challenges, and to bust some allergy myths to “create a safer world for people with food allergies”.
The 41-year-old will run the London Landmarks Half Marathon on April 3, 2022 and has so far raised £650, including £350 within three hours of launching her JustGiving page – donate to Anna’s fundraiser here.
‘It was really scary’
Two of the allergic reactions Arthur suffered when he was around three years old were particularly scary for his parents, with Anna saying at one point it was like she was watching her son die, and she wants to help others become more aware of the various symptoms of anaphylaxis.
During a visit to The Hare and Hounds in Fulbeck Arthur ate some ice cream. He spat some of it out, but at first it wasn’t clear it was an allergic reaction.
A short while later hives started to appear around his lip and he was drooling, which Anna says is a rarely publicised symptom. By the time the family got outside to the car, the symptoms became more obvious and Arthur’s speech was impaired and his tongue had swollen.
His parents administered the EpiPen and paramedics were called and stayed with them before it was decided Arthur was okay. Anna has praised the pub which has since bought a separate ice cream suitable for Arthur which they keep in the freezer labelled with his name on it.
Around 12 weeks later, Arthur was eating fish fingers, mashed potato and mixed vegetables at home, all of which he had previously had before. He spat out the vegetables and soon after hives started to appear, although he was happy in himself.
However, around 20 minutes later Arthur’s speech changed and he was given the EpiPen by his parents who contacted 999.
Anna said: “We were about to give a second EpiPen when his face puffed up and his lips were blue. He deteriorated fast and it was like watching my son die at this point and it really scary.
“The turnaround as the medicine started to work was incredible. By the time paramedics arrived, Arthur was jolly and smiling again.
“One of the hardest things for parents with a child having allergic reactions is that no two reactions are the same. It is really scary at different stages for different reasons. You realise how unpredictable allergies are, especially IgE-mediated food allergies, and the possibility of anaphylaxis.”
Prior to these two incidents, Arthur suffered other allergic reactions, including one at a restaurant while the family was on holiday in Edinburgh in 2017, which led to paramedics attending and then being in hospital for a few hours.
Arthur also had two allergic reactions over the Christmas holidays in 2021, with Anna saying it affects every single day and that it is high likely that her son will have the allergies for the rest of his life.
Anna has become involved in several online communities with other parents affected by the issue, and she is keen to raise awareness of the different types of allergies.
She also wants to bust some allergy myths including to people who assume people can simply change their diet, or who question why people even go out to eat if they have so many allergies.
She is hoping to raise more awareness for The Anaphylaxis Campaign as well as praising the work of the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, which was founded by Tanya Ednan-Laperouse after her daughter’s tragic death. Natasha sadly died in July 2016 after eating sesame seeds that were baked into the dough of a baguette.
Anna is now fully focused on preparing for her charity challenge. She has enjoyed running on and off for a long time and during lockdown she said it kept her “sane”.
After injuring her ankle badly last year, she has been taking it easier, but is now back training and hoping to go running two to three times a week – she did her first sub 30 minute 5k on January 3, 2022.
She said reaching her initial target of £350 in just three hours was “quite overwhelming” and it “feels amazing” that people keep donating to a cause very close to her heart.
Anna added: “Arthur is a lovely boy. He’s got an amazing imagination and loves to draw. He’s very keen on lego and has a big passion for dinosaurs – he wants to be a palaeontologist when he’s older.
“I want the world to be a safer place for people with food allergies. It is about awareness, education, kindness and inclusivity.”