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In Owen Carey's family home, it is the silence and the stillness which are today almost too hard to bear. Just two years ago, the floppy-haired 18-year-old had filled it with his boisterous charm and mischievous humour.
There were detailed running commentaries on the latest episodes of his favourite television show Game Of Thrones – incomprehensible to those around him – or loud bursts of song played on a guitar, trumpet or violin.
Energy - Uncle - Nephew - Nieces - Mother
He was fizzing with energy, a devoted uncle to his young nephew and two nieces, and made sure to hug his mother Moira 'at least three times a day'.
He was weeks from sitting A-Levels in Maths, Physics and Computer Science at Skinners' grammar school in Tunbridge Wells, where he was a prefect, and had received an offer to study at Swansea University.
Life - Precision - Battery - Food - Allergies
Yet this was a life lived with deceptive 'military precision' because of the battery of serious food and environmental allergies which had posed a constant threat to Owen's life since he was a baby.
The entire family was forever on a state of high alert to protect him from the painful hives which would swell his skin, the nausea and vomiting which would accompany a reaction, and the potentially deadly asthma attack which it could provoke.
School - Meals - Home - Dairy - Wheat
His school meals were lovingly prepared at home to be free of dairy, wheat, soya, nuts and myriad other allergens which could – they knew too well – have killed him. These allergens were meticulously translated into the local languages when they went abroad, and impressed firmly on to the minds of foreign chefs and waiting staff.
So successful were they that Owen had never needed to use an EpiPen, a portable device carried by allergy sufferers, which injects life-saving adrenaline in the case of a severe attack.
And yet their dedicated vigilance...
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