Husband builds 'safe haven' for wife who is allergic to him and almost everything else - Bring Me The News

Husband builds 'safe haven' for wife who is allergic to him and almost everything else

Johanna Watkins suffers from an extremely rare condition that makes her allergic to most things in her day-to-day life, including the scent of her husband.

The story of Scott and Johanna Watkins has been shared around the world, and the Minneapolis couple's fight against a rare condition afflicting Johanna took its latest turn this month.

FOX 9 first reported in November how Johanna suffers from mast cell activation syndrome, a rare condition that according to their GoFundMe page causes her to develop life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to "just about anything" including many foods, chemicals, the outdoors and dust.

As of last year, that included her husband, as she developed allergies to body odors from everyone apart from her siblings. It's forced them to live separately ever since, barely hugging for fear it would trigger a reaction.

The couple are being assisted by Dr. Lawrence Afrin of the University of Minnesota, who is one of the leading experts on the diseases, but various medications and even four-rounds of chemotherapy have not proved successful.

The couple launched a GoFundMe campaign last year after being approved for a mortgage loan, as they needed to raise more money to turn their future home into a "safe haven" where Johanna can live in as much comfort as possible.

They managed to raise more than $126,000 after their story went global, with Scott spending the past year upgrading the home to create an apartment for himself upstairs and Johanna's haven downstairs.

The pair are now separated by an airlock in their new south Minneapolis home after moving in earlier this month. The air in Johanna's deep-cleaned quarters purified using hundreds of filters and windows blocked out to limit sunlight, according to their CaringBridge page.

Rough start

But it's been a rocky start to life in their new home. Scott writes he carried Johanna into the safe space when they first arrived, where her family was waiting, only for her to immediately faint due to the smell from the updated plumbing they installed.

The smell has made her bedroom inhospitable, so she's sleeping on the couch in the living room. It's also making her so sick, she needs round the clock care from her siblings and help walking to the bathroom, Scott wrote on the CaringBridge page.

"To adapt Johanna has stopped breathing through her nose. It only helps slightly. At night she also breathes through her mouth, a skill that you might not think possible, but would believe when you know the pain Johanna experiences when triggered by a scent."

FOX describes Scott's efforts to help his wife in recent months as his "labor of love" and on the CaringBridge page he admits there is still much to do to help his wife. Scott writes they're in "survival mode" and are asking for prayers of comfort, encouragement and to heal Johanna.

You can read more about their journey here.

Next Up

billy's on grand

Coronavirus: Billy's on Grand will close for winter

The restaurant is among a growing list of eateries to close for the winter months.


1 dead in early Wednesday crash on Interstate 694

The 28-year-old driver was not wearing a seatbelt, the State Patrol said.

enbridge line 3

Complaint argues that Line 3 pipeline replacement is no longer needed

Honor the Earth filed the petition with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Tuesday.

danny lee bettcher

Minnesota man who had 28 DWIs dies weeks after leaving prison

Danny Lee Bettcher is considered the most prolific drunken driver in Minnesota history.

coronavirus Wisconsin

Health leader calls Wisconsin's COVID-19 situation a 'nightmare scenario'

Wisconsin is reporting record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

adam weeks

MN GOPers facing new claims they recruited legal pot candidates to run in swing races

Republicans have allegedly been encouraging people to run as legal marijuana candidates to take votes away from Democrats.

clayton brandt

Victim of car crash identified as Lake City firefighter

Lake City firefighter Clayton Brandt died after a single-vehicle crash early Tuesday.

hy-vee sterile carts

Hy-Vee starts using automated system to disinfect shopping carts

By mid-November, more than 200 Hy-Vee stores will have this system in place.

Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen

Vikings will face Everson Griffen twice after trade to Lions

The former Vikings star was traded to Detroit for a fifth-round pick.

Jordana Green

WCCO Radio's Jordana Green diagnosed with leukemia

"I got this," Green wrote on her Facebook page.


Minnesota-based Crisp & Green adds 20 locations in four states

The four-year-old local business says it's going national


Husband dies from rare illness 4 days before wife gives birth

He fell ill while his wife was in hospital ahead of the premature birth of their child.

Meet the Minnesotan who created an app that stops nightmares

It was designed for veterans with PTSD, but could potentially help many others.

Rollover crash kills husband, wife in Itasca County

A Grand Rapids couple is dead after a single-vehicle crash on Highway 46 northeast of Bemidji just before midnight Saturday night, the Star Tribune reports. The Minnesota State Patrol reports the crash killed the driver, Joy L. Wilson, 54, and her husband, Donald G. Wilson, 56. Neither were wearing their seat belt.

Eden Prairie husband charged with assisting wife's suicide

The 61-year-old told police his wife was in pain and medication didn't help.

CDC: It's safe to eat SOME kinds of romaine lettuce

It all depends on where the lettuce is grown.

A viral video helps a Minnesota girl get a guide dog

Ruby Ardolf is one of only 12 people in the world with a genetic condition known as Stromme Syndrome.