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LITTLE BOY WHO'S ALLERGIC TO TOYS; He's trapped in a sterile world of his own.

THE family snapshot at the top of this page is one that a mother and father will never see again - their little boy cuddling a teddy bear.

For a simple action like that would make three-year-old Elgar Ho's body erupt into huge sores the size of boiled eggs.

Elgar is allergic to virtually everything in the 20th Century - and his condition means that now he cannot play with toys, eat crisps or romp in the park with friends.

He is trapped in a world of sterile isolation while his parents Holly and Simon can only pray for a cure.

"It's heartbreaking to sit and watch as my son tries to play with his older brother Andes's toys," says Holly, 40, from Alston in Cumbria. "It makes me weep when I see my little boy crying out for even the simplest little things he can never touch.

"Even worse is knowing that Elgar will never be able to have friends of his own. Almost everything that comes into contact with his skin apart from the purest cotton sparks a rash and a trip to hospital."

Doctors have diagnosed his condition as a severe atopic allergy which includes chronic eczema, a range of food allergies and allergic reactions to thousands of household items.

He was just three months old when Holly realised something was wrong. "I had given him the tiniest chunk of bread to munch on," says Holly. "Immediately he broke out into a nasty red and white nettle rash." Doctors put the reaction down to eczema due to a food allergy.

But the same thing happened soon afterwards and Holly and Simon noticed more and more household items were sparking Elgar's illness. They have seen Britain's top allergy specialists, but so far every one is baffled.

Some of his food allergies are so severe they could kill him in minutes. That means he survives on a bland diet of just meat, vegetables and rice every day.

Even too much sunlight makes Elgar sick, so he is restricted to four or five short walks in his mother's arms each day.

But despite the family's hardships, Holly insists it is still worth every minute of pain when he reaches over and kisses her.

"Elgar can take all the pain away when he gives me a hug," she says. "We will never give up on him."
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Author:Dunn, Rosie
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 8, 1999
Words:393
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