A woman left brain damaged after a severe allergic reaction to nuts while on holiday has returned home after five years in care.
Former ITV producer Amy May Shead, 31, went into anaphylactic shock after taking just one bite of a chicken meal at a restaurant in Budapest in Hungary.
She was in hospitals and care homes since the 2014 incident but this month returned home to live in a specially built annex at the side of the family home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.
She will receive 24-hour care there.
Her aunt Julie Martin said Amy’s parents Roger and Sue Shead were “over the moon” to have their daughter home.
“They’ve longed for her to come home,” she said. “They’ve wanted her to come home for a long time but it’s challenging to get someone discharged with a care package.”
Mrs Martin said Amy was happy to be home though it would be a “huge transition period” for the family.
Amy was 26 and on holiday with friends at the time of the incident.
She had managed her allergy all her life, was never without her EpiPen and showed restaurant waiting staff a card printed in the local language stating that she suffered from a potentially fatal allergy.
Her family said she was assured several times that the meal she had chosen was free from nuts.
Her allergic reaction resulted in brain damage.
Mrs Martin said the family took legal action but got no compensation as there was no public liability insurance in place at the restaurant.
“She’s wheelchair-bound, she’s unable to talk, she can’t see and can’t care for herself but she understands,” said Mrs Martin. “She has a really great sense of humour and a will to work at her therapies which is really rewarding to see.”
Julie Martin and Tom Martin set up the Amy May Trust which fundraises to cover all the costs of Amy’s therapies, including specialist physiotherapy, to help her rehabilitation and progression.
Mrs Martin says this can cost up to £7,000 each month.
NHS funding is in place for other aspects of her care.
The Amy May Trust is also campaigning to raise awareness and to improve the flying experience for airline passengers with nut allergies.
“We’re working to prevent a tragedy like this happening to another family,” said Mrs Martin.
For details, see www.amymaytrust.com