Woman’s life saved by free app as she drove over busy bridge

Madi Bond was driving home when she suffered a life-threatening reaction near some roadworks. (SWNS)

A young woman’s life was saved by an app after she suffered a terrifying allergic reaction while driving. 

Madi Bond, 24, experienced an anaphylactic shock while making her way home to Somerset early last month.

The electrical engineer, who suffers with idiopathic anaphylaxis – meaning she can experience severe and potentially life threatening reactions to triggers – felt an episode come on after passing some roadworks.

She felt her symptoms begin as she drove over the Tamar Bridge on her way to Taunton, where she lives with her boyfriend, Dan Cooper, 24, a marketing executive.

The 24-year-old electrical engineer, who lives with her boyfriend Dan in Somerset, suffers from idiopathic anaphylaxis. (SWNS)

Madi, who often does not know her triggers and has experienced 23 anaphylactic reactions in two years, said: “I remember seeing roadworks and, even though my windows were up, there was a chemical smell.

“I don’t know if they’d used paint stripper and there was a trigger in that, if it was the Tarmac, or what it was, but suddenly, I couldn’t smell anything anymore, as my nasal passages were clogged.

“I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to get off this bridge, I know I’m going to have a reaction and I just hope it’s not a bad one.’”

Managing to cross the bridge, she pulled into a lay-by a third of a mile down the road and called her parents.

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“I said, ‘Mum, I need you to come and get me. I can’t drive anymore. I’m not going to be ok for much longer.’

“Then I phoned my sister who said, ‘Madi, you’re not actually answering questions now. You aren’t making any sense. You need your EpiPen now.’”

Grabbing her EpiPen, used to inject adrenalin, which can be a lifesaver for people with anaphylaxis, she then rang 999.

But when she tried to describe her location, feeling dizzy and wheezing as her breathing began to fail, she was struggling to focus and unable give the ambulance controller a precise location.

She used the what3words app on her phone so an ambulance could find her in time. (SWNS)

Madi said: “That was when the controller asked if I had the what3words app on my phone – which I did.”

Story continues

Dividing the world into a grid of three-metre squares, on the app, each square is given a unique three word address and, by opening it and clicking a blue arrow, she was able to give the operator the three words which were translated using GPS to reveal her location.

She continued: “Within a couple of minutes after that, an ambulance arrived.

“I don’t know what would have happened without the app.”

Madi’s first anaphylactic episode happened when she drank a weak pint of Malibu and coke on her 18th birthday in 2014.

She said: “I ended up in hospital on my 18th birthday! I was really ill. I was at my friend’s house and her mum called an ambulance.”

She continued: “I was itching, I had a rash and my breathing had gone.

“I’d drunk a little bit before and my stomach had been upset after, but it hadn’t been really severe.”

Madi, who doesn’t usually know her triggers, 23 anaphylactic reactions in two years. (SWNS)

Tested by the hospital’s allergy clinic, after a pinprick with vodka she was fine. Then, when some was wiped on her lip she was simply itchy. But, when she was given tiny amounts of the spirit to drink, after 2.5mls they were forced to stop.

She said: “My reaction to alcohol was so severe, it was too dangerous to carry on.”

This was the start of a terrifying journey with anaphylaxis which has seen her experience so many episodes it has been impossible for medics to fully identify her triggers.

Stress, exercise, oranges, milk, the opiate painkiller Oramorph, anti-inflammatory medication, alcohol and tomatoes are just some of her known triggers.

Madi said: “I’ve had 23 anaphylactic reactions in the last two years. With at least seven of them, I didn’t know what it was I’d reacted to.

“The worst one happened earlier this year when was I was asleep and dreamed I was having a reaction, only to wake up and find I couldn’t breathe.”

She continued: “Nothing around me had changed, so I have no idea what caused it.

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“I’ve reacted to oranges and tomatoes in the past, but not all the time. I’ve always felt a bit itchy if my boyfriend has peeled an orange – I never eat them.”

She added: “Once he peeled one when I was feeling ill and then I was gone. I couldn’t breathe.”

An enthusiastic cricket player, exercise can also be a trigger and she has reacted to deep heat spray being used on injuries in her vicinity after playing.

While mild reactions will cause an itchy upper body and sometimes lower body rash, hay fever symptoms and some swelling, normally around her cheekbones, when it is severe her throat starts closing and she finds it hard to breathe.

She said: “Sometimes, after antihistamine, it will calm down after half an hour.

“Luckily, I react well to adrenalin, too. But, when it’s really severe, I get dizzy and can’t breathe.”

She was hospitalised 15 times in 2020. (SWNS)

Madi continued: “I haven’t passed out yet, but it’s likely to happen in the future.

” I used to find it absolutely terrifying and thought I was going to die.

“As stress is a trigger for me, though, I have to try and stay calm as much as possible.”

“sd: “I have been working from home since February 2020, as I am classed as extremely clinically vulnerable at the moment, so the Instagram community has been a great support – as have my boyfriend, my family and my employer.ot usual for sufferers to be affected so often or to feel it coming on, continued to have reactions every two or three weeks for the first few months of this year.s

Luckily, they have calmed down now, according to Madi, who said: “I had a reaction with a six-week gap and another with a six-week gap. Then my last reaction was after the bridge on July 7.”

And she is eternally grateful that she downloaded the what3words app, which she believes could have saved her life.

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The owner of two dogs, Bertie a springer-cocker spaniel mix, and Jack, a cocker spaniel, both aged two, she downloaded it as it made her feel safer when out walking them.

She said: “I’ve had the app downloaded for years, as I walk a lot with my dogs on the moors, so it seemed like a good idea in case I had a reaction.

Now awaiting news on whether she will be given a new form of injection to combat her condition, Madi says she receives great support from fellow sufferers who share their stories on Instagram.

She said: “I have been working from home since February 2020, as I am classed as extremely clinically vulnerable at the moment, so the Instagram community has been a great support – as have my boyfriend, my family and my employer.

“Luckily, the incident on July 7 is the only time I have ever started to react when I was driving.

“I have driven since – it only took me around a week to recover and get back behind the wheel. I won’t let it knock my confidence.”

And Madi added: “I am just so glad I had the app and would recommend everyone gets it.

“If the ambulance hadn’t found me so quickly, I really don’t know what would have happened.”

The what3words app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, and works offline, making it ideal for use in areas with unreliable data connection, such as beaches, national parks and campsites. 


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