Awful Things

Kid Who’s Deathly Allergic to Food Gets the Award for Today’s Most Heartbreaking Story

Off limits. All of it.
Off limits. All of it. Photo: Will Heap/Dorling Kindersley/Getty images

Nineteen-year-old Utahan Alex Visker will never accidentally eat anything he’s allergic to, because he’s straight-up allergic to all food. Doctors have no official diagnosis, but say it’s an incredibly rare illness stemming from severe allergies and a Mast Cell Activation Disorder. Even a tiny nibble can make him vomit, cause convulsions and bone pain, bottom out his blood pressure, and send family members diving for an EpiPen to stop anaphylaxis. His meals are Soylent-esque, but worse, because his nutrient sludge must enter his stomach via a feeding tube.

Here’s what his mother wrote on a GoFundMe page for Visker: She’s trying to raise $20,000 to defray his $7,000-a-month meds and send him to online college:

He cannot eat ANY food. That has mentally been the most difficult thing because he still feels hungry and still craves food.

In spite of this, Alex remains an amazing, positive individual. He cooks food for his friends; he takes his girlfriend out for ice cream. He never makes anyone feel bad about eating in front of him. He is just excited to feel good enough to not spend all of his time in bed. He feeds himself through his feeding tube and deals with all of the strange looks and comments with humor.

Visker tells People that he’s hungry and wants food all the time, and that he’ll run off to his bedroom when he starts to crave his mom’s German chocolate cake or homemade lasagna. “Everything in our society revolves around food, but I’ve learned to live with it,” he says. “I remember what it tastes like. And that will have to be enough.”

[People, GoFundMe]

Kid Who’s Deathly Allergic to Food Gets the Award for Today’s Most