The boy who can only eat NINE foods: Six-year-old has rare life-threatening allergy
Jayden can only eat nine foods: cereal, chicken, ham, pears, apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes and riceLast year doctors restricted the boy to a baby milk-only diet
A young boy must survive on a simple diet of chicken and chips and fruit salad, after he was diagnosed with a rare allergic condition.
Six-year-old Jayden Clarke baffled doctors and consultants with a series of mysterious health problems, which left his parents Rob and Nicky constantly frustrated and disappointed by the lack of a diagnosis.
His stomach was often swollen, his skin dry and he has suffered bleeding from his bowel and constipation.
Limiting: Jayden Clarke, 6, with some of the few foods he can actually eat
He collapsed because of breathing difficulties and at times his skin was so dry it looked like he had been slashed by a knife and was so painful he would wake up ten times a night.
After years of tests, experts at Great Ormond Street have now made a breakthrough.
Following a series of biopsies, they have diagnosed Jayden with the rare condition, Eosinophillic Gastrointestinal Disease (EGID). The condition affects just 700 people in the UK.
The condition, when high levels of white blood cells involved in allergic reactions are present in the body, restricts Jayden’s diet to just nine foods – cereal, chicken, ham, pears, apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes and rice.
If he eats something different, his stomach will swell and his skin will become so dry it will crack and bleed.
Jayden of Wootton, Isle of Wight also has analyphatic asthma, triggered by the condition, and has to take medication and have cream rubbed into his skin every day.
Baffled: Jayden with his parents Rob and Nicky Clarke, who are relieved they finally have a diagnosis
Last June doctors restricted him to a no food diet, with just special baby milk, Neocate, for 21 days.
Nicky said: 'It was a horrendous time. We caught him trying to lick crumbs off the table, he was so hungry.
'Explaining to him we were only trying to make him better was so difficult.
'There were lots of tears and he kept telling us we could not starve him because he was only a five-year-old boy.'
As a baby, Jayden was very agitated and he could not have normal baby milk and much of his life has been spent in hospital.
Jayden’s health has put a huge strain on Rob, 49, and Nicky, 43, and the couple have given up careers in the police and the NHS to care for him, as he needs lots of time off school.
Nicky, who has formed a support group to help other parents of children with severe food allergies, said: “It has been very difficult.
'Rob would say there was nothing wrong and I wondered if I was being an over anxious parent but my overwhelming feeling was there was more to it – I knew Jayden’s health problems were not normal.'
Jayden also has analyphatic asthma
Although the diagnosis has given the family some direction, it has created other problems for Jayden.
Nicky said Jayden was already fed up with his restricted diet and chips were one of the only things he was happy to eat.
'There are some things he won’t eat because he is so fed with them, like chicken and rice.
'I deliberately keep certain foods out of the house to avoid tempting.
'Jayden but it’s very hard on him, especially when he has to sit and watch his friends have their lunch at school, when he can only eat certain things.'
Nicky said the family was very
conscious about eating around Jayden and her 13-year-old son, Ross, has
to eat sweets and chocolate in his bedroom, out of Jayden’s sight.
Rob and Nicky hope to introduce more foods into Jayden’s diet, it is
likely he will have to stay on his present diet forever, unless a cure
former nursing auxiliary on cardiac investigations at St Mary’s
Hospital, Newport, is in regular contact with consultants at Great
Ormond Street, which is at the forefront of EGID research.
She takes Jayden to the asthma and allergy department at St Mary’s and he is advised by dietician, Carina Ventors.
who was a police officer for 15 years but now runs two businesses from
home, Rob Clarke Photography and children’s party specialists,
Cinderockers, said: 'He is an active, excitable, loving and humorous
five year old.
'It’s heart rending when you see him go to eat something he shouldn’t, then bring it back and ask us if it will make him poorly.
'It is getting harder as he gets older.'