Tributes after death of 'world's most allergic boy'

Paul swimming with dolphins on a trip to Florida in 2012 Credit: MEN Media

Tributes have been paid following the death of a man who became known as the "world's most allergic boy".

Paul Braithwaite, from Grimsby, was the only Brit in history to be diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteropathy.

The incredibly rare condition caused him to suffer vomiting and rashes after contact with sunlight, grass, fabric, dust and animals. He also had to avoid several types of food.

It also stunted Paul's growth, meaning he was the size of an average 11-year-old when he died in hospital in Hull this week at the age of 20.

His mother Kelly Thornton said, despite his trials, Paul made the best of his life.

Paul's parents Darren Braithwaite and Kelly Thornton say their son would try anything he could Credit: MEN Media

"He took everything in his stride, nothing got him down, he just made a joke out of everything," she said.

But as he grew older he became more self-conscious because of the condition of his skin and began to lock himself in his bedroom.

"He had such complex needs and was so embarrassed by everything that he didn't want others to see him," Kelly said.

"It was hard to see as his mum as I never thought he should be ashamed of himself. He did have one friend who came a couple of hours a week, but he was mainly in his own little world, which he liked."

Paul Braithwaite in his England kit alongside dad Darren Credit: MEN Media

A football-mad youngster who was a mascot at Grimsby Town, Paul's plight struck a chord with big sporting names.

He received a letter from former England football manager Fabio Capello and met snooker player Jimmy White and television presenter Eamonn Holmes paid for astroturf to be laid in his garden.

Kelly said: "We were inseparable, I stayed by his side continuously. He wasn't ready to go, that's what makes it so bad."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help raise funds for the family.

What is eosinophilic gastroenteritis?

Eeosinophilic gastroenteritis is a gastrointestinal condition characterised by chronic digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and more.

The term eosinophilic refers to the presence of a type of white blood cell called eosinophils, which plays an important role in the immune system response.

Under normal circumstances, eosinophils remain within tissue and is only released when an immune response is triggered.

But in people with eosinophilic gastroenteritis, the eosinophils infiltrate the digestive tract and cause inflammation.

Symptoms include trouble swallowing, indigestion, heartburn, chest pain and abdominal pain. In children it can stunt development.

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