Fordingbridge mum and young son raising awareness of rare condition

Fordingbridge mum and young son raising awareness of rare condition

Published by Jack Deery at 1:27pm 24th June 2020.

4 minute read

Anna Garratt and her 6 year old son Alfie are making handmade cards to raise money for the Mast Cell Action Charity.

The pair are aiming to make 500 homemade cards for 500 people living in local Nursing and Care Homes. 

They hope to create them all within the month of June. 

It's all to raise awareness of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), which mum Anna suffers with. 

Home made cards made by fordingbridge pair
They are aiming to make 500 cards within June


Mast Cells play an important role in the body's immune system by releasing chemical mediators when reacting to foreign bodies and injury.

In a healthy person, these chemicals protect and heal the body, but in a person suffering with MCAS, they are inappropriately triggered and have a negative effect on the body. 

Among the triggers are a variety of different foods, exercise, chemicals, fragrances and stress.

Anna told Spire FM why it was so important to get more people to understand the condition: 

"Raising awareness of MCAS feels really important to me now. I know, that if one GP, Specialist, Consultant, Medic etc takes an interest in MCAS, the help they can offer an individual will snowball and they will, in turn, be able to help and save many MCAS sufferers like me. 

They will also, hopefully share their interest in MCAS with other Medics and this will promote treatment and support."

Anna became seriously unwell towards the end of 2016, and after moving back to the New Forest from Australia, her symptoms flared up again. 

She was housebound for eight months and bed ridden for three, but doctors and medics didn't know what was wrong. 

After months of being passed between numerous health officials, Anna got a breakthrough thanks to her GP:

"My wonderful GP has been my saviour. She never doubted my debilitating symptoms, even when Specialists and other GPs rejected me. 

She remained strong enough to keep referring me until we got to some real answers and real help. She recommended I see a Dietitian and was fortunate enough to have an appointment with Nutritionist, Amie Marshall, who, in less than an hour, identified I had serious histamine issues.  

It takes someone pretty special to believe the craziness I presented with, especially when I had been previously turned away by so many ‘medical experts’. Amie provided me with lifesaving recommendations, which literally kept me alive until I received further support.  She has stuck by my side ever since. "

More information about MCAS can be found on


By making these homemade cards with her 6 year old son, Anna hopes to not only put a smile on the face of some care home residents, but also to raise a bit of money for the Mast Cell Action Charity.

They aimed to raise £300, but have already smashed their target with almost £800 already collected. 

Home made cards made by fordingbridge pair
Anna and Alfie have been making the cards together

Anna added: 

"Mast Cell Action have provided me with invaluable information and support.  They have provided me with a community of other MCAS sufferers, which is so necessary when dealing with a rare disease so many medics and public have never heard of."

You can donate to Anna and Alfie's Just Giving page by going to

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