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Model Says She Was ‘Left Numb’ From Mum Dying Of An Allergic Reaction To Hair Dye

A model has spoken out about how she felt from the trauma of losing her mum when she was just a teenager. Following an allergic reaction to hair dye, her mum slipped into a coma and never woke back up. 

Abi McCabe lost her mum back in 2012 when she was just 16-years-old, but still feels traumatised to this day about the dreadful period in her life.

When her mum Julie had a fatal allergic reaction to a box of hair dye, Abi says she fell into a state of numbness.

For years, Abi’s mum had been suffering from skin problems and it has since been speculated that it was triggered by a henna tattoo she had done in 2007.

Julie would find she’d be getting rashes, itchy eyes and swelling after using hair dye. Concerned, she even went to the doctors seeking advice.

Despite having gone to the doctors over 20 times, the mum was frustrated as she would find they’d only prescribe her creams.

Credit: Abi McCabe

The GPs believed that her life was not at risk due to the allergies and therefore didn’t do more to investigate. Yet in 2011, she was left struggling to breathe after having a severe hair dye reaction. Heartbreakingly, she slipped into a coma.

For more than a year before her passing, Julie remained in a coma. However, she passed away due to heart failure as a result of brain damage.

Julie had only been 39-years-old when she left behind her loving family.

Since the trauma, Abi has been left with anxiety and panic attacks. Ever since she has had to battle through “dark moments”.

The Yorkshire-based model has now finally gotten to a place where she feels she has the strength to talk about the period of heartbreak in her life.

Credit: Abi McCabe

She told Daily Star: “Losing my mum was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my short life so far.

“I remember the night when it happened and she screamed she couldn’t breathe and she said she thought she was going to die.

“My dad rushed her to the hospital but she fell unconscious in the car.

“As soon as my dad got her to Airedale hospital they were quick to revive her but she slipped into a coma.

“I remember the moment of seeing my mum for the first time in intensive care but she didn’t look like what I remembered.

“They shaved all her hair off and she didn’t look like herself, it was heartbreaking.”

At the time, the 23-year-old hoped that her mum would somehow recover but with every visit, Abi realised her mum’s health was only taking a downward spiral.

She recalled: “The visits were so tough seeing my mum in that way.

“I had hope she would pull through but gradually she was getting worse and worse and passed away due to extreme brain damage caused by the hair dye.

“It was devastating and I felt numb for a while.

“I remember going to school on the same day which I shouldn’t have done. I just broke down and had a huge panic attack.

“Losing my mum when she was so young at the age of 39 was heartbreaking. And being only 16 myself, it was tough.”

Not wanting to have to think about what had happened, Abi explained that she tried to push the trauma to the back of her mind and move on as quickly as possible – yet she soon realised that this would be impossible, as the grief quickly caught up with her.

Credit: Abi McCabe

She said: “After mum passed I just tried to put it to the back of my mind and not think about it that much. And just live the normal life of a sixteen-year-old.

“I did for a while but it soon caught up with me in 2015 when I was experiencing shortness of breath.

“I would struggle to breathe and get dizzy spells and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

“Then I felt like I was having a heart attack and my brother rushed me to hospital but they ruled it as a major panic attack and said it’s stress through grieving for the loss of your mother.

“I never had anxiety in my life and it was something I never thought I would experience.”

She added: “This continued for two years then went away. But it returned just last year with an impact.

“I felt depressed and I didn’t know why.”

Credit: Abi McCabe

Trying to help herself move on, Abi pursued counselling sessions but was disheartened when she realised it wasn’t what she had been expecting. Thankfully, she had the help of her family and friends instead.

She said: “I grieved for my mum really hard last year and went through a lot of dark moments but I am finally ready to say that I am happy now and coping day by day and taking it in my stride and feel back to my old happy, positive self again.

“It has taken a while but I’m finally happy and finally ready to remember and talk about my mum in a positive way and not get upset by it.”

She added: “For anyone else coming through grief like me, it is something that never ever goes away.

“It’s just something you have to deal with and learn how to cope with it and grow into a better you.

“I would advise young women who have gone through what I have gone through to stay busy do something every day that makes you feel happy and motivated.

“Surround yourself with people and your loved ones. And most importantly count your blessings.

“Things get better in time.”

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