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There are only three foods that our boy can eat safely.

Byline: Katie Davies Chief Reporter

TODDLER Max Billingham faces killer reactions daily because is allergic to daily because is allergic to all food - apart from potarevolves toes, carrots and bananas.

While his friends are starting to eat chocolate, crisps and biscuits, he faces a dash to hospital if he eats any of those due to his severe allergies. The two-year-old has undergone surgery to be fed via a pump 14 hours a day.

"It's really stressful because everything revolves around food," said his mum Laura, of Felling, Gateshead.

"A lot of social events include going out for meals or a buffet. He just doesn't understand why he can't have the food."

As a baby, Max, who was premature, suffered a severe reaction to milk and foods and doctors began to carry out food tests.

The list of foods Max is allergic to, which include chicken and rice, grows by the day and doctors have been forced to put him on a special milk formula.

His conditions - FPIES, or food proteininduced enterocolitis syndrome, and dysmotility of the bowel - cause him to go into shock and turn blue when he has foods he is allergic to and he must be admitted straight to hospital.

His family say he is the only child in the North East they know to be liv-ing with both conditions. "Some of the doctors haven't even heard of it," said Laura, a children's nurse. "To look at him, you wouldn't think any thing was wrong but he's really ill and we're constantly in and out of hospital."

This week the yo" ster was fitted with a feeding pump which will be used to get food into his body.

It is thought Max,, who will remain in hospital for the next eight weeks, will grow out of the FPIES disorder, but he might have to live with the feeding pump for the rest of his life.

Laura and husband Scott, 33, a driving instructor, will soon travel to London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital with Max so that experts can assess his condition.

The couple, who are also parents to Halle, four, say it is a very diffi -cult time for the family, but they want to raise awareness of Max's condition.

Laura said: "It's a case oftrial and error and often you don't know what foods have caused his reaction as sometimes the chronic reaction can be delayed.

"My daughter once had a biscuit and he ate the tiniest of crumbs and he was poorly. It's a horrible condition and we just want to raise awareness."

Laura once resorted to " making dozens of lemonade ice lollies - one of the only things that didn't - cause him to go into shock.

The mum says she can't thank Max's nurs ery school, Whickham Cottage, in Swalwell, Gateshead, for their sup port.

The mum-of-two said: "The nursery has been a life-saver. They take him into a different room when the other children are eating and they've just been a huge support."

Pals will do a coast-to" coast bike ride next week to raise cash for tests for Max. Donate at A MYSTERIOUS CONDITION MAX suffers from food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, or FPIES.

It is a severe reaction to food proteins that happens one to four hours after a problematic food is ingested.

The condition primarily occurs in infants, with most outgrowing it by the age of three, but it can also exist in adults and older children.

At its most extreme, the allergy sparks vomiting, diarrhoea and a shock-like state. The exact cause within the body is unknown.

The most common problem foods are milk and soy protein, but rice, chicken, oats, peanuts, potatoes and fish are also often triggers.

The condition is often missed by paediatricians because it does not spark the usual immune system response and is not traceable through typical allergy tests. For example, skin-prick tests for allergies come up negative.

The International Association for Food Protein Enterocolitis is trying to carry out research and educate doctors so that they can recognise the symptoms.


Max with |mum Laura Billingham

Whickham Cottage Nursery manager Hayley Steel with |Max and his key worker Sarah Anderson |Max and his key worker Sarah Anderson

Max, who uses |a feeding tube, with Laura and sister Halle, four
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 12, 2014
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