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11-year-old with severe allergies impacted by formula shortage

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 6:04 AM EDT
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O’FALLON, Ill. (KSDK) - An 11-year-old boy with severe allergies and his family are struggling to find the medical formula he needs due to the national baby formula shortage.

When Mackenzie Broyles pulls a box of Nutricia Neocate Splash from the pantry, it’s one of their last with the medical formula she needs for her 11-year-old son, Cash. She noticed she was running low, and that’s when she found out the national formula shortage was now hitting home.

Cash has eosinophilia, a condition that causes the disease-fighting white blood cells in his body to treat nearly all foods as a parasite or bacteria. The only foods he can tolerate are rice, potatoes, apples and Nutricia Neocate Splash.

Cash Broyles, 11, has eosinophilia, a condition that causes the disease-fighting white blood...
Cash Broyles, 11, has eosinophilia, a condition that causes the disease-fighting white blood cells in his body to treat nearly all foods as a parasite or bacteria. The only foods he can tolerate are rice, potatoes, apples and a formula called Nutricia Neocate Splash.(Source: Family photos, KSDK via CNN)

The dietary requirement has been costing more every time his mom goes online for stock.

“It’s $567, and he would go through this in about five or six days,” Broyles said.

Like many parents, she turned to social media to see if anyone in her network had extra formula, finding a lot of willing kindness but no solutions.

“We’ve had I don’t know how many moms offer us breast milk. I don’t think they realized Cash was 11 when they offered that up,” Broyles said.

Neocate’s makers have an update on their website telling customers that “the Abbott formula recall in February led to a huge surge in demand for alternative amino acid-based formula, including our Neocate products.”

Broyles’ medical supplier told her that they have about 2,000 other customers in the St. Louis region in the same situation as her.

Ellyn Kodroff is the president of CURED, a foundation that’s donated $6 million for research on eosinophilic conditions, and now, they’re also trying to connect families with the formula they need.

“It is so difficult and so scary,” Kodroff said. “We knew right away there was going to be some kind of trouble. I don’t think we ever imagined that it was going to come to this.”

While the Broyles family searches for a solution, they turn to their faith, feeding their souls and hoping for a miracle. Unlike many of the infants affected by the shortage, Cash is expected to need his formula for years.

“We’re looking to God, and we’re trusting that God is going to provide for him right now because nobody else seems to know what to do,” Broyles said.

Broyles says she’s urging people in her network to contact Congress in hopes of passing the Medical Nutrition Equity Act, which would require health insurance companies to cover the medical formulas.

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