Dietary restrictions can be a hassle for anyone to manage. But while some of us might have to forego gluten or dairy, that’s nothing compared to the painful struggle that Montreal toddler Micah Gabriel Masson Lopez endures on a daily basis.
Due to a rare and acute case of Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), the only solid food that two-year-old Micah can safely consume is fresh peaches, Global News reports. Eating any of the 27 foods he’s allergic to can cause profuse vomiting, intense gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, mucus, blood, reflux, and rashes. Some foods are so dangerous that they can send him into hypovolemic shock, and the additives in canned or frozen peaches (including corn) can set off waves of his painful symptoms.
Navigating FPIES weighs heavily on Micah’s family both emotionally and financially. As one might imagine, buying fresh peaches for Micah’s one meal a day can be difficult and prohibitively expensive in a climate like Quebec’s. “Let’s just say peaches are very hard to find off-season,” mother Caroline Masson told Global News. “We are buying peaches in bulk and are running out of funds to do so, as we also have to pay for his complex medical needs.” Without them, his mother fears he’ll be subject to a Failure to Thrive (FTT) diagnosis, which will require further hospitalization and feeding tubes.
To that end, the family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help defray the cost of Micah’s litany of medical treatments—which involve “9 different specialists every month”—and the high cost of importing peaches, buying rabbit meat in an effort to experiment with broth, and special formula that won’t be covered by the family’s insurance after next October. To date, they’ve raised more than $8,600 against their initial $1,500 goal.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology suggests that most children “outgrow” FPIES by ages 3 or 4, it remains to be seen what will happen with a case so severe as Micah’s. Hopefully the funds his mother has raised make it easier for him to subsist on a steady diet of fresh peaches until then.