Who Are Archie's Allergies
Archie's Allergies is a charity set up to offer support to families with children and young individuals living with allergic disease or more specific food allergies. Our story starts with Archie.
From the first allergic reaction Archie had we received no support from any medical professionals be that the GP or from the hospital's allergy clinic. When Archie was around 6 months old I started to wean him, one of the first foods I tried was scrambled eggs. Archie immediately came up in red/purple aggressive hives across his body and when rushed to the GP surgery, we were advised to just avoid eggs for 6 months and try again.
So naturally we did but ass time went on nothing changed and the GP found no concern to refer him to the allergy clinic at our local hospital even though these awful hives would dominate his body and make his lips turn blue. Could you imagine being a new mother and witnessing this and not knowing what it could be? The midwives or health visitors didn't tell me that these kind of symptoms could occur from eating food. I'm oblivious to food allergies and the deadly sentence they carry.
At 4 years old Archie had been playing at his nan's dinning room table. My nephew had been eating peanuts and innocently reached over to Archie and touched him on his face/mouth and this was the moment that Archie immediately had a reaction. His lips swelled up, his eyes swelled closed, he turned blue, clammy, he. couldn't breath and he had a red rash across his entire body.
Even now, he's 7 and this day haunts me. We didn't have a clue what was happening or what it could be, we didn't know this was an anaphylaxis reaction, we didn't know what to do or who to call it was the scariest moment of my life. When we could leave the hospital we were told to just avoid peanuts, no do this or that just avoid peanuts. I just watched my son nearly die and you want me to just avoid peanuts like it's a person I can easily identify.
Jumping forward to Reception, although Archie had the initial reaction whilst in Nursery it was near to the end of summer term so when we went back in September he had his official diagnosis with epi pens in hand. Archie had a new teacher to the school and we spent a lengthly time talking to her about what would be needed for him / adjusted in school so it was safe. Then only a few weeks in Archie was left in a classroom while over 60 of his peers were in the hall next to him having fun and making cakes!
This first incident effected Archie to the point he couldn't understand why he wasn't;'t like his friends, but this is the example set by his own teachers. Months later the same thing happened again and his teacher again stated he was looked after elsewhere while everyone else had all the fun. Not once were we told this was happening so we could supply alternatives for him or did the teachers not once think maybe Archie should do something similar if it was that important that 60 other children had to do this activity.
Archie moved into Year 1 and it become worse, something I 100% believe was down to a 'ring leader', imagine a fully grown women in her mid-thirties taking it upon herself to destroy my Childs mental health and insuring the teachers under her also follow suit.
Year 1 was one of the worst times of my life, they constantly didn't care about Archie and the extra care needed. He was again left out, but to the point he was stood in front of his friends watching them decorating Christmas cookies and he couldn't do anything and his school find it appropriate. Easter came around and I can easily say it was breaking point, the teacher thought it appropriate to bring chicks into the classroom to watch and hatch, something I myself experience in the same school but they were always kept outside the hall, but this time they HAD to be in the classroom.
Archie is allergic to the protein in the egg, that's raw and cooked egg. If he were to have touched the chick eggs or the chicks once they were hatched he would have had an allergic reaction, the company they got the chicks from put all blame onto the school stating it was them that were taking the risk and they couldn't guarantee my sons safety yet they still went ahead.
After 2 consultant letters stating they cannot stay within the classroom because of the risk and through my own persistence the chicks were still brought in and yes, left in Archie's classroom despite the teachers, head teacher and school nurse all saying other wise. It was Archie's innocent friends that told us the truth, from there we were able to prove their lies and when the school nurse was spoken with her attitude was 'I don't know what the fuss is about'. Well I do it's his life that's what the fuss is.
Their attitudes were and really still are vile, it was his head teachers own words that created what Archie's Allergies is today. He said ' Archie as an individual and you, as a family will have to get used to him being excluded from educational activities ' this statement to this day haunts me and gives me the strength to pursue my fight against the stigma around food allergies.
There is no reason as to why any child has to be excluded from anything ESPECIALLY when it comes to school activities. What person pushes a child to the side or puts them at risk of dying because it's better for the other 60 kids? How are these people allowed to teach children if this is their attitude? I took it to the head governor and she sided with the head teacher. As a mother I was defeated by these monsters, the people I send my child to everyday and I just have to accept this?
This whole ordeal produced Archie's Allergies. I thought NO! why should I lay down and just take this? I will take their nastiness and their negative attitude and put it into something positive so, Archie's Allergies was going to help schools, their teachers and staff to support children with food allergies but after a few months it become apparent that we were needed in bigger way. This paved the way for us to become the charity we are today.
Offering support, information and advice to those that need it the most. We won't let another family or child go through what we did. We created allergy badges and stickers for children to feel comfortable with their allergies and not shy away or be afraid of them. We don't ever want a child to have to be responsible in telling others about their allergies either, hence the speech bubble logo and the slogans we use, clear and friendly . I never want anyone to feel so alone as I did, there is so much isolation when you have a child with food allergies just out of fear of going anywhere in case they have a reaction.
We aspire to create change and show non-allergy sufferers how easy it is to understand food allergies. Food allergies are a medical condition, they are life threatening and until you see your child laying helplessly on the floor from one bite or one touch of food then you probably won't understand the level of seriousness that has to be taken to keep our children safe.
Archie's Allergies stands for prevention and we don't want a tragedy to happen when it can be easily avoided, it just takes care.