When Craig McKinnon proposed to Jess Prinsloo, it was the happiest day of the Briton’s life. However, just four days later, while on vacation in South Africa, the bride was dead.
The 24-year-old marketing executive, who had an acute dairy allergy, suffered a fatal reaction after using the wrong spoon to stir tea. He returned to the UK with Jess’s ashes last Monday (23).
The couple had been traveling for a week when, on December 27, Craig proposed to his beloved at the God’s Window viewpoint in Mpumalanga.
“Many of her family live in South Africa and she didn’t visit [o país] six years ago, so I knew there was no better place to propose,” said McKinnon. “My voice cracked when I got down on my knees and asked, ‘Will you marry me?’ She said, ‘Oh my God,’ and started crying before saying yes.”
The couple celebrated over the next few days with champagne and “lots of laughs” before heading to Jess’ mother’s home in Johannesburg on Dec. 30.
On that same date, Jess came into contact with dairy products and, within seconds, went into anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening reaction that causes the throat to close. She died in hospital the next day, on New Year’s Eve.
The young woman always carried two injections of epinephrine, a drug indicated for the urgent treatment of severe allergic reactions. But on this occasion, they didn’t work.
“When Jess died, a part of me died too. But there’s no one to blame for her passing away,” McKinnon said.
The young man believes that years of reactions like this had a cumulative effect on Jess, who had been allergic to dairy since she was 9 months old.
After the executive’s death, McKinnon still faced medical bills of 3,700 pounds (about R$ 23,800), plus 1,200 pounds (R$ 7,716.58) in coroner’s fees. Because of this, his mother and Jess’ brother started crowdfunding to pay the bills and the young woman’s funeral.
As well as wanting to pay another tribute to her beloved in the UK, McKinnon wants to educate people about allergies. “It’s something people can’t control and it can kill them. I just want people to listen and understand how serious this is,” she finished.