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'This day last week my boy (7) picked up the phone and saved his mummy' - model Alison Canavan struck down by mystery virus


Alison Canavan and her son James.

Alison Canavan and her son James.

Alison Canavan with her son James. Photo: Tony Gavin

Alison Canavan with her son James. Photo: Tony Gavin

Alison Canavan wears: Dress, Claudie Pierlot, Brown Thomas. Photo: David Conachy

Alison Canavan wears: Dress, Claudie Pierlot, Brown Thomas. Photo: David Conachy


Alison Canavan and her son James.

“This day last week my seven-year-old boy picked up the phone and saved his mummy.”

When model and wellness speaker Alison Canavan posted these words yesterday on Instagram, alarmed fans rushed to wish her well.

The single mum was in the company of her son James (7) in London last week when she suddenly collapsed, and it turns out, was struck down by bacterial pneumonia, pleurisy and a mystery virus all at once.

Doctors suspect she contracted the virus on a long-haul flight from LA last month.

“It has been an intense and scary week but I am now on the mend,” she said.

Back in Ireland now, having finally been cleared medically to fly home for the Vitality Expo in the RDS, Alison told Independent.ie that her young son amazed her through the whole process.

“James was astonishing. My words got mumbled when it happened and he rang my friend and said ‘mummy needs help’. My friend rang the doctor and he let the doctor up to the building. I lost consciousness and when I came through he was standing there talking to me, he was incredibly calm, the doctor was saying ‘stay with us, stay with us’, and he was calm throughout it all.”

“He needs a lot of cuddling and minding and reassurance that all is OK for him. It’s not a nice thing for a child to go through.”

Alison lost consciousness for ten minutes and was rushed to hospital, and she credits her healthy lifestyle with helping her to bounce back.

“All I can say is thank God for mindfulness. I don’t like needles and I focused on my practice.”

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“When I was being put into a CT machine, the doctor said ‘how did your heart rate settle so quickly?’ I said I’m a medication teacher. He said ‘that’s extraordinary’.”

“I don’t even take a pill for a headache. I’m really healthy, and I think how fit and healthy you are is a testament to how you respond to treatment. Because I never take antibiotics, the drugs kicked in straight away.”

Alison and her family were in London for a 70th birthday celebration, but she never made it.

“Myself and my son were at a West End show on Friday night, on the Saturday I was in hospital.”

“It’s only when something like that happens to you that it sinks in, who’s important, what’s important. It was another level of learning for me.”

“The practices I do are what carried me through a really scary week. I journaled a lot of my feelings, I cried a lot of my feelings. I kept saying ‘thank you’ for the lifestyle I live.”

“I feel very grounded and I’m really looking forward to James’ first day of school now. The mums of the kids in his school have gotten his books, stationery, and offered to pick him up and drop him to school. I was blown away.”

“I feel so loved and not alone. That’s the power of community.”

Alison, is currently studying at the Semel Institute in the University of California, Los Angeles this year, which will qualify her to write her own wellness and mindfulness courses and books.

She will speak at the Vitality Expo, which promises to be Ireland’s largest health and well-being show, taking place in Dublin’s RDS on September 8th and 9th.

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