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Big Country boy with severe food allergies, eczema gets surprise of lifetime

By Cassandra Webb, cwebb@ktxs.com
Published On: Jun 11 2013 10:59:37 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 11 2013 07:28:41 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

About 5 percent of children in the United States have food allergies.

Kids with food allergies are likely to have asthma and suffer from eczema, a skin condition that can be serious.

One child in the Big Country has all three – asthma, food allergies and eczema.

Kason McDowell has been in and out of the hospital since he was three months old.

Food or anything in the air could trigger an allergic reaction.

He's like any other 3-year-old boy, except he has a nebulizer machine and his mother has to carry epinephrine (epi) pens wherever they go.

When Kason was an infant, his eczema was so bad he would scratch his face until it bled. The open wounds caused many infections, some so bad he was even quarantined. 

His mother, Mary, said the diagnosis was hard to bear, especially since there is no cure.

"How do I deal with it?" McDowell said. "It was kind of almost like anyone would grieve a situation. It was anger, then hostility, then depression. You realize once you get the diagnosis, it's like okay ... they tell you how to deal with it, but when what they tell you doesn't work, you're like, 'What now?'"

McDowell said if she could take Kason's place, she would. In fact, she would give her life.

"I would take it all away from him," she said. "I would let him have a completely normal life if I could take it away from him. I can deal with the world. That little boy is only three years old. He hasn't been here long enough. I would do anything if it meant sacrificing everything I had for him ... it's sad."

McDowell wrote in and told KTXS about her son's story. She wants to raise awareness about food allergies and severe ezema, but she also wanted to ask a favor.

Kason loves fire trucks, police cars and ambulances.

"I think he knows that it's safety," McDowell said. "Because of the many times he's had to ride in ambulances and of the times a fire truck has shown up because he was sick. He knows it's good people. He knows that he's safe."

Originally, McDowell asked if KTXS could get the Abilene Fire Department, police department or ambulance services to take a photo with a "Cure for Kason" sign.

The agencies did her one better.

They rolled out their vehicles at Shotwell Stadium so Kason could get an upclose look ... and it made his day.

The Abilene Fire Department presented him with a book and a firefighter's outfit.

The Abilene Police Department gave him a police badge and certification and the ambulance service, Metrocare, let him take home a real stethoscope.

After a lifetime of sickness, one little boy got a moment of pure happiness.

Kason will undergo an allergy "scratch test" in August that help better determine exactly which foods he is allergic to.

For more information on food allergies in children, click here.

For more information on eczema, click here.