How Severe Food Poisoning Made Me Reevaluate My Life


There had just been a snowstorm, and my husband’s business trip was delayed. I was happy to keep him home a bit longer. Maybe I was feeling romantic a couple days after Valentine’s Day or maybe I just wanted him to shovel the snow. I went into the bathroom for a shower. I heard the house phone ring but didn’t think anything of it. I walked out of the bathroom, saw my husband looking pale, sitting silently in the living room. I was instantly nervous, and he told me that his brother, only 32, died. My mind went blank.

My brother-in-law was a free spirit, a surfer who traveled the world following the waves. He was a lifeguard who saved many people’s lives. He loved children and taught them about the ocean. To celebrate his life, hundreds of people gathered on the beach in February and many paddled out into the frigid Northeast water to pay tribute. This was the first event that February that made us take a hard look at what we were doing with our lives.

A few weeks later, I went to China without my husband to see my family. One morning, I was out with my sister, and I suddenly began to violently vomit. I fell over. My sister rushed me to the hospital, where I heard the doctor saying, “blood pressure extremely low…” I’d never felt that bad in my life and thought, “This might be it.” The doctor later said I had severe food poisoning, and I might have died had I not made it there so quickly.

In the hospital bed, I started to wonder if I was making the most of my life. Sure, I had a good education and career. I was on a great path by most people’s standards. I was learning that life is full of resilience but can also be fragile. Was I really making the impact I wanted to make on this world?

Heck no!

I decided at that moment that I want to live my life my way. I want to do things I’m truly passionate about and make a difference. When I returned to the U.S., I got together with my husband, family and friends. Events in our own lives led us towards a common interest — making the world a happier place for kids, especially kids who really need it. We had some ideas about making improvements to kids’ lives in the medical space. After talking to different families, doctors, nurses and therapists, SuperHealos was born.

1 copy

My husband and I left our stable jobs to pursue the SuperHealos mission. We’re just starting out but are making great progress. SuperHealos is dedicated to helping kids face life’s toughest challenges. We’re starting this journey by creating stories and characters to whom these kids can relate. For example in our first coloring storybook, “SuperHealos Adventures in the Hospital,” the kids are introduced to the SuperHealos characters and learn what they’ll encounter during their hospital stays. We’re introducing products, like our SuperHealos cape, that play an important role in the story. Kids can feel like SuperHealos with these products and continue to be empowered after reading the book. Our other big focus right now is redesigning the traditional hospital gown to make it more comfortable and exciting for kids to wear. It’ll be a fun part of the SuperHealos ecosystem. You can isit our website and Kickstarter for more info and to support the cause.

Want to celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to More Diseases

Mom Creates Groundbreaking Tool for People With Visual Impairments

Catherine Rose’s daughter, Alexis, is both hearing and visually impaired. Rose’s experiences with her daughter’s disabilities motivated her to seek out a career with a company that was improving people’s lives, which led her to accept a job at Philips in their healthcare division. Rose noticed her daughter’s attraction to lights and convinced her employer to build a teaching [...]

To the Bold Woman in the Locker Room Who Taught Me It’s OK to Ask for Help

It can sometimes only be in retrospect that we realize how poorly we were coping during a certain period of our lives. I was keenly aware that my stress level was high in the summer of 2010. What I failed to appreciate, however, was that I was not effectively handling my strain. Our third baby [...]

To the Elderly Man Who Gave My Son a Gift at Physical Therapy

My son and I were involved in a car accident while we were sitting at a stop sign waiting to turn. I was sore but OK, but my 4-year-old son, Daniel, who was strapped in his car seat, tore muscles in his neck and had horrible headaches for weeks following the accident. We were referred to physical therapy. [...]

Why I Love When Your Kid Blurts Out a Blunt Question About My Kid With Special Needs

After the reality of having a child with complex medical and developmental needs sank in, I decided I was going to bring my sweet Connor in his bright blue wheelchair everywhere I could. I wanted to introduce him to everyone and everything that makes this world go round. I knew it’d be tough (like in places that [...]