By Mollie Mansfield
A mother-of-two has spoken out about the emotional turmoil this time of year has on her son – who is ALLERGIC TO EASTER.
Every year Carol Toole, 45, resents the Easter holiday due to her 10-year-old son, Reece, being allergic to the festivity.
Since the age of three, Reece has been severely allergic to nuts – meaning that even being in the same room as an unwrapped Easter egg that could contain nuts would cause him to start having allergic reactions.
During the holiday, Carol, a retail worker, is forced to snatch Easter eggs her son is gifted from him and replace them with plastic eggs, sweets and specific chocolate which contains no traces of nuts.
Carol, from Tamworth, Staffs, said: “We only found out about Reece’s allergy when he was three years old as he was handing me peanuts at a family party.
“He ran off crying and came back and his face had started to swell up – at first we thought he had been bitten by an insect because nothing like this had happened to him before.
“We took him to the chemist to get some medication, but he started wheezing, coughing and sneezing, so we went to the hospital.
“As soon as we got there they could tell what it was, and the next week he had blood tests saying he was allergic to all nuts – and therefore cannot eat anything that is made in a factory that contains nuts.
“This means that he’s allergic to Easter – he can’t have normal Easter eggs, or Easter treats that you’d pick up in the supermarket – so it’s a tough time for us as a family.
Since finding out Reece’s diagnosis in 2012, Carol and her family have had to take extra caution in every day activities to make sure they don’t set off his allergies.
She said: “Now we have to look at every label before we give Reece something – and if it may contain nuts, or is made in the same factory, then we have to make sure it’s far away from him.
“This is especially hard at Easter time because sometimes family and friends always buy him eggs from the shop and forget to check the label.
“So we have to make sure that we check all of the labels and unfortunately a lot of the time have to take the eggs off of him.
“It’s a hard time of year as he isn’t allowed to do certain things – we take him to an Easter themed bingo and if he were to win he wouldn’t be able to have his prize, and he can’t do conventional Easter egg hunts.
“Luckily as he has got older he understands his allergy, but when he was a child it was really hard as he didn’t understand why everyone could have fun at Easter but him.”
Despite not being able to have a conventional Easter, Carol explained she ensures he doesn’t miss out on the seasonal activities by creating him his own nut-free hunts.
She said: “Every year I have to make sure I plan beforehand – as quite a lot of the nut-free chocolate and sweets that I get him aren’t as easily available as normal Easter eggs.
“I make sure I do him his own special ‘Easter box’ so that he can still be included in the festivities.
“I even buy plastic eggs and fill them with sweets, so everything still looks the part.
“Seeing the allergic reaction he had when he was three is enough to make us extra careful, and the photo should show others why they have to be so careful with what they gift nut-allergy children for Easter.”