Darion and Kristie Downen

TICK-BORNE ILLNESS in the form of alpha-gal syndrome has changed life as Darion, left, and Kristie Downen know it. The Peace Valley couple have had to take drastic steps to ensure Kristie doesn’t have a potentially fatal allergic reaction caused by animal products or everyday chemicals. Kristie wears a mask to avoid exposure to contagious ailments such as the common cold because medications available may have allergens.

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