Last night I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. She asked how I was, and I shared my frustrations with taking care of my mom and feeling stuck. I mentioned how I’d been reading a lot of blogs of younger people who were on fire and “making sh*t happen” like DaleJStephens with UnCollege. While admiring youthful energy, drive, and productivity I am also a bit envious of their ability to move forward unencumbered by care taking responsibilities-whether for children or elders-that always trump any other goals one might have for the day.
I asked Nichole how she was doing and learned I had NOTHING to complain about. She was also feeling stuck, not always having the time, energy or resources to accomplish what she wants to do in addition to what she must do. I started questioning, trying to clarify issues, and my energy jumped when I switched my focus from my issues to hers.
Nichole and her husband have a healthy 6 year old and a 2 year old with a severe, potentially life threatening food allergy syndrome called FPIES. I was in awe that she was still smiling after what they’ve been through, watching their child’s health deteriorating, essentially starving, with no answers..a parent’s nightmare. She started researching when doctors didn’t know what to do and what the doctors suggested was clearly not working. Once she found a possibility for healing she needed to buck the opposition and find the limited sources of food her daughter can tolerate. The good news is what she found is working. Ellie is starting to heal and make headway in her development.But the gains are slow and setbacks are always on the horizon. Nichole faces a constant financial battle on top of the physical and emotional roller-coaster and needs to keep working to help pay for all the things not covered by insurance. She’s learning quickly about food politics, networking and brain development issues that can affect these children. I admire that on top of her grueling daily routine, she feels an urgency to share what she’s learned in hopes of saving other children and impacting their long term health and neurological development if families get this information early enough.
So, for this working/homeschooling mom, with a busy toddler who can easily get into a life threatening situation, a simple trip to the grocery store or local restaurant, or picking up take-out is not an option. Food sourcing and preparation are time consuming for both parents. She is blogging, trying to reach out and help others, and wants to start a non -profit to educate the public and medical community, provide support for families and promote research on the issues of how the real food GAPS diet is working, and ultimately to impact our food supply. Based on her experience finding the right information at a critical moment and seeing her daughter shift from starving to healing, she knows this needs to be done yesterday. She does not have enough hours in the day to do it all herself, or the financial resources to pay someone else to do it for her.
I am asking for your help. If you have skills or time you can donate, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or @NicholeSawatzky. If you have connections that could help her find research or funding partners, let her know. If you can throw some money her way to help feed her child Ellie, or help her pay for assistance to get the project going, please donate. Go to her blog elliebellyupdates.blogspot.com and use the donate button in the top right corner.
It took thinking about how to help someone else to get me unstuck. Please, if you can do anything to help Nichole move forward, do so. It might help you, too.