Tod­dler lives with threat of at­tack


GABBY Mar­ler, 3, is so al­ler­gic to life it is un­likely she will go to school, join a play­group or ex­pe­ri­ence a sleep­over.

Her mul­ti­ple al­ler­gies, in­clud­ing dust mites, air-con­di­tion­ing, hu­mid­ity, mould and soap, could prove deadly and there is nowhere on the planet that is safe for her ... not even her own home.

Gabby’s lit­tle body rarely rests as sneaky trig­gers lurk ev­ery­where.

The Queens­land tot lives daily with the threat of an ana­phy­lac­tic at­tack and her skin is ripped to shreds due to the end­less tor­ment­ing itch of painful sores and rashes.

She can­not tol­er­ate most foods, with meat, veg­eta­bles and fruit her daily menu. Dust mites are en­emy No.1.

“Ev­ery day we have a mantra that we re­peat. ‘I am not itchy, I am not itchy’,” her mother Tif­fany Mar­ler said.

Doc­tors sug­gested that the only safe en­vi­ron­ment for Gabby could be a med­i­cal bub­ble but Ms Mar­ler said that she would do ev­ery­thing she could to avoid her daugh­ter be­ing forced into soli­tary con­fine­ment.

“I want her to run and play with her sis­ter in her own home,” she said.

The stress on the fam­ily is crip­pling. The Mar­ler house and yard are among the clean­est in the coun­try as mum is on a con­stant ro­ta­tion of scrub­bing and wash­ing and mak­ing meals from scratch.

“I have to clean ev­ery­thing in­side and out from top to bot­tom ev­ery day just in case there is the slight­est bit of dust. Clothes and bed­clothes are on a con­stant wash cy­cle,” Ms Mar­ler said.

“I have an­other lit­tle girl Ada­lynn, who is 18 months, and my hus­band is work­ing all hours to pay for the med­i­cal bills.” One in 20 chil­dren in Aus­tralia has a food al­lergy and food-in­duced ana­phy­laxis has dou­bled in the past decade. Hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions have in­creased five times in the past 20 years and fa­tal­i­ties in­creased by 10 per cent each year. The Mur­doch Chil­dren’s Re­search In­sti­tute found that two in ev­ery three chil­dren would out­grow food al­ler­gies by age four.

“At the mo­ment, it seems there is no light at the end of the tun­nel for Gabby,” Ms Mar­ler said. “It would be amaz­ing if she im­proved as she gets older. In the meantime, we dream of mov­ing from the home we are in to build a home that is dan­ger-free.

“Gabby needs a home that has spe­cial floors, air­con and paint,” she said.

TOUGH TIMES: Gabby Mar­ler, 3, with her sis­ter Ada­lynn, 1. Pic­ture: AAP/Clau­dia Bax­ter

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