Children's Nutrition Gets New Advocate
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Kaycee Childress spent years trying to find what was causing her son’s severe stomach problems. Doctors couldn’t figure it out until she went to a pediatric gastroenterologist and discovered he had severe GERD and food sensitivities that prevented him from eating certain foods. Cameron is now 15 and taller than Kaycee (see above). But not all families with children with allergies and illnesses that limit their food have the same resources. So when Kaycee, who’s been in nonprofits for over 20 years, was offered the job this month to lead the Children’s Medical Nutrition Alliance, she knew she had to take it. The national coalition, launched last September, educates the public on medical nutrition, and the foods and formulas that help children with certain types of health problems.
Kaycee says there hasn’t been an overarching group like this—others target specific illnesses or genetic disorders. Rockville, MD-based CMNuA is bringing them all together to advocate as one voice on issues surrounding medical foods. The biggest challenge is a lack of public awareness about how limited some children are in what they can eat because they can’t process a certain protein or something else commonly found in foods. Kaycee is working with one other full-time person in the organization and the alliance’s three-person board to develop educational outreach and programs to support children and their families in need of medical nutrition. CMNuA, whose budget falls between $500k and $1M, has raised funds through grants and donations and is starting to pursue corporate donations.