Brave Lowestoft allergy sufferer seeks help

EVERY day little Ben Brown gets up and prepares for battle.

For the four-year-old lives in a place where he is constantly assaulted by the world around him – where even a kiss from his daddy could kill.

His life is a medical minefield where the grass under his feet, the dust around a picture frame, a petal on the breeze have to be treated as delicately as unexploded bombs.

Simply walking past a horse could see the Lowestoft youngster rushed to hospital, such is the acute sensitivity of the many allergies that narrow his horizons.

Now his mother Toni Brown, 31, a customer and dealer supervisor at Great Yarmouth's Grosvenor Casino, wants to raise awareness about allergies and money for ground-breaking desensitisation treatment to stop him developing any more.

She hopes treatment can take place in the next few months at Gorleston's James Paget Hospital, where it is available but not currently funded.

Adding to the urgency is the possibility that some of Ben's allergies have now gone internal, affecting his digestion and causing bowel problems.

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'Everything is potentially a hazard,' Mrs Brown said. 'But what is frightening is that to look at him you wouldn't know there was a thing wrong. You can see it more in the summer when his eyes are sunken and he has been up all night coughing until he can't breathe.'

With the checklist of allergies growing all the time, and reactions becoming more severe, Mrs Brown is desperate to stop it becoming as acute as that of her 33-year-old sister for whom there is just 30 seconds between life and death if she has a reaction.

Her problems have increased since childhood to the point where she can barely get out of bed some days, let alone walk her children to school, the chain of reactions adding up to a host of other debilitating health problems.

'The treatment needs to be started two months before the summer season. I have got to try something. I do worry and awful as it sounds I don't want him to end up like my sister.

'If we leave it until it becomes too severe we won't be able to do anything about it in the future. I am cross the treatment is not funded but I am happy to raise the money because it is for my son.'

Ben goes to school part time and along with his book bag and PE kit has to take a host of creams, inhalers, medicines and adrenaline injector pens with him wherever he goes.

He has reactions every day, sometimes serious ones, and needs to change his clothes frequently to make sure he is allergen-free.

Mrs Brown added that her hospital consultant had been very supportive in trying to get funding. The initial desensitising treatment involves putting a piece of paper with a trace of grass under his tongue to develop tolerance.

Aside from his numerous allergies including most animals, all pollen, all grass, eggs and nuts, the family faces a constant battle keeping his asthma and eczema under control.

Mrs Brown is hoping to raise between three and six thousand pounds to treat the most pressing allergies to grass and house dust mites. The events kicked off last Saturday with super- hero event at the Grosvenor Casino which raised around �600 including the proceeds from a raffle organised by Dale Gordon's Extreme Makeover team. The next event is on Saturday, February 26, when a party night will feature head shaves and body waxing. On March 18-19 an exercise bike will be installed at the casino and pedalled 24/7. The programme continues on March 28 with a poker challenge culminating in a dinner and dance on April 2. Businessess in and around Great Yarmouth and Gorleston have donated a raft of raffle prizes but more will be needed.

l To find out more call the Grosvenor Casino on Great Yarmouth seafront on 01493 850444.