It was the fall of 2011, and Darren’s wife Lezlie had passed away unexpectedly two weeks before their then 4-year-old son Carter was accepted into a food allergy trial at Stanford.
Lezlie had been the one to research options that could help Carter with his multiple food allergies. She was the one who sent a letter to the Center inquiring about its food allergy trials, and the one who filled out the application to get Carter into a clinical study at Stanford.
When the news came of Carter’s acceptance into the Center’s multi-allergen oral immunotherapy trial with Xolair, Darren knew he would do whatever it took to make his wife’s vision for their son a reality. Juggling homework, baths, cooking, and activities for his grieving sons, Darren now added a four hour round-trip drive to Stanford Hospital every two weeks. Carter’s brothers, then 6 and 8, would have to be patient as their father and younger brother spent many days at the hospital.
Having had his first severe allergic reaction when he was just 1, Carter’s allergies include egg, milk, peanut and cashew. Now 6-years-old, a resilient Carter has made tremendous progress, consuming small amounts of egg, milk, peanut, and cashew on a daily basis. “The staff has such great dialogue with letting me know what the future looks like and that we are moving in the right direction,” explains Darren.
“The program is not stressful for Carter,” continues his father, and his curious son has thoroughly enjoyed exploring the new foods that have since opened for him. “The foods that Carter now eats are all new and different for him. He likes real milk better than his old rice milk, and likes cashews more than peanuts. Carter says he wants a fried egg when he gets to a high enough dose. He wants pizza with real cheese and a milk shake when he finishes the program.”
The whole family will soon embark for Spain, where they will be spending the summer for Darren’s work. Carter will continue his daily doses abroad and will resume his clinical visits when he returns to the States.