From that moment, life changed drastically for the family, as they quickly had to adapt to living with the presence of severe allergies. They then discovered she was allergic to many foods including cows’ milk, wheat, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, lentils, and salmon. 50% of children and young people have one or more allergy within the first 18 years of life (Journal of Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2009), and 6 – 8% of children have a proven food allergy (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2011).
“Evie suffers with multiple severe allergies, so it has been a steep learning curve,” says Katie. “Neither my husband nor I have allergies so it was never something we had to think about before.”
It has been extremely difficult for the family as Evie has suffered severe allergic reactions. Katie said: “She has also been in hospital many times for breathing related problems and wheezing; a few times it has been the result of milk being airborne. Once she was in hospital in one of the ward buggies and within minutes she screaming and pulling at her back. Her whole back and arms were covered in hives, the doctors think another child probably had a bottle of milk in the buggy before Evie, which had spilt.”
Katie had to cut certain allergenic foods out of her diet during breastfeeding and remembers late nights with her phone nearby, researching online support resources: “Allergy UK was brilliant at that time, with online support, advice and easy to understand information about allergies and anaphylaxis.”
Receiving vital support from the charity at a time when she needed it most, inspired her to take part in this huge fundraising feat and help others understand the reality of living with an allergy:
I chose to run for Allergy UK as they are a brilliant, supportive charity. I felt it was important to raise awareness about allergies and for people to understand just how difficult it can be to live the condition.
But it was her little daughter, Evie that gave her all the motivation she needed to complete the gruelling challenge ahead of her on the day: “Evie is undoubtedly my inspiration to complete the marathon. Just seeing her cheeky smile and her shouting, ‘Go, Mummy!’ got me through the 26 miles. I think of her bravery and resilience when she has been on oxygen machines in hospital, struggling to breathe, yet she takes it all in her stride. She’s a brilliant patient and I’m so proud of her.”
Katie feels proud of her huge achievement and says it’s not about target times but about participating and proving she can do it: “I could have sat and watched it on TV like previous years, thinking: “Wouldn’t it be awesome to be there doing that?” This year I was there, with a t-shirt on that means so much to me and my family. Anyone that can complete 26 miles should be proud, even if it takes them all day!”
In October 2016 Katie arranged a charity ball at Dunston Hall in Norfolk raising over £2,600 in donations.
Thank you so much to Katie for you continued support of Allergy UK!