REAL LIFE

TV producer brain damaged after nut allergy nightmare

She took every precaution and still suffered a reaction.

When Amy May Shead was 29 she was living an incredible life. 

She had a successful job as a TV producer in the UK, and was on holiday with friends visiting the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary.

Since she was 18 months old, Amy May’s parents, Rue and Roger, were aware that their daughter had a life-threatening allergy to nuts, and had taught their daughter how to manage the condition.

She always asked kitchens when she went out if the food was nut-free, or could be made nut-free, and she carried two Epi-Pens in case of emergencies.

While travelling, she also carried with her an allergy card written in Hungarian so she could be absolutely clear why she couldn’t risk eating foods that had anything to do with nuts. 

Tragically, at a Hungarian restaurant in Budapest Amy May was served a dish that triggered her allergic reaction.

‘They brought the chicken dish out for Amy,’ explains Sue Shead, Amy’s mum, in an interview with Amy’s former colleagues at ITVs This Morning.

‘She had just one mouthful of this chicken and immediately felt her throat tightening and went into major anaphylactic shock.’

Her reaction was in fact so severe that Amy was technically dead for 6 whole minutes until she was revived. However the trauma left her with brain damage, and robbed her of her ability to speak or walk.

Amy May and Sue Shead on ITV
(Credit: ITV)

In the years since Amy May has undergone extensive therapy and while her brain damage affects her ability to move about and communicate, she can still completely understand the world around her. 

Her family are now firmly campaigning for awareness of allergies like Amy May’s – and calling for changes to be made to prevent other people from going through what their daughter went through. 

A key example is banning nuts on aeroplanes, since even inhaling the smell from a nut can trigger a devastating reaction.

When asked by This Morning hosts Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes what Sue would say to people who argue against banning nuts from planes Sue said: ‘I would say ‘Everyone is entitled to their opinion, perhaps I can have a chat with you and perhaps you’d like to meet my Amy and we can explain more.’

This article first published on New Idea.

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