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Allergy boy’s life set to be transformed, thanks to fundraisers

PUBLISHED: 21:23 04 August 2011

Lowestoft allergy sufferer Ben Brown with his mother Toni.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Lowestoft allergy sufferer Ben Brown with his mother Toni. Photo: Andy Darnell

Archant © 2011

TREATMENT is set to transform the life of a five-year-old boy – thanks to the rallying efforts of people across the borough.

Little Ben Brown knows all too well the itchy, sore, and potentially life-threatening effects of living with a range of allergies from dust-mites to grass, horses to nuts.

But now thanks to a whirlwind fundraising effort which has raised £8,400 since February, he is just weeks away from desensitisation treatment that will, it is hoped, cure him of some of the more everyday allergies that make his life despairingly uncomfortable.

Ben’s mum Toni said he couldn’t wait for September’s treatment to start and was nagging her almost every day in the hope he can be free of the eye and ear drops and host of symptoms that make his life a misery.

But it is by no means a quick fix – because providing he takes to the treatment well and experiences no reactions, it will take three years of daily drops on the tongue to work.

Mrs Brown, who works at Grosvenor Casino in Great Yarmouth, said that having suffered with 14 allergies since he was a tot, including some that trigger anaphylactic shock, it was a huge relief to think that he could live a near normal life.

The treatment, which involves putting a tiny amount of the allergen-like grass on a dissolvable piece of paper under the tongue every day, aims to re-tune the way the body responds to the aggravating substance.

Mrs Brown said she was hugely grateful to everyone who had contributed to the appeal, which was also helping Ben’s two-year-old sister Lucy.

“Ben will go into the James Paget Hospital to have it done initially. He will probably get an itchy tongue and some people get it so badly they cannot continue. But if it goes well Ben will take the drugs every day for three years.

“He is really excited. He keeps saying: ‘Mummy, when is this treatment going to stop me from itching,’.”

The treatment to cure three of his allergies is available locally but not funded. It is set to cost around £9,000.

Meanwhile Ben’s little sister Lucy is also affected by allergies which have affected her growth and hearing. The two-year-old suffers dreadful stomach pains and has a serious allergy to milk, even the smallest trace causing sickness and diarrhoea.

Mrs Brown, 32, of Sussex Road, Lowestoft, said her webbed neck and deformed spine made her look like a “mini body builder” but that the causes had been difficult to detect. As well as hearing aids she will also need glasses and an eye patch. The children’s aunt, Toni’s sister, suffers with severe allergies, also.

Charity wrist bands have been produced in aid of the Lucy and Ben Brown Appeal Fund which is a registered trust, based at The Avenues pub in Beatty Road, the venue for several fundraising events including a barbecue to coincide with Yarmouth Racecourse’s Ladies Night.

Recent events include a bucket collection at the racecourse and an event at Wensum Valley Golf where 35 businessmen from the Yarmouth area raised £1,429. Meanwhile the trust was astounded and hugely grateful to receive an anonymous donation for £500.

Initially Mrs Brown aimed to raise £3,000 to tackle the grass allergy, but has now set a target of £42,000 to tackled all 14, depending on how Ben reacts to treatment.

l Mrs Brown has been helped by Jimmy Swann, who co-ordinated the Susannah Pont Appeal some years ago. Contact him via 07747 752273. Post any donations to The Avenues, Beatty Road, Great Yarmouth, NR30 4BW.

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