Laurie Margolis from Long Grove lives with food allergies every day.
She’s allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, coconut and shellfish, and her two boys, ages 8 and 7, have severe feed allergies too.
“Jack is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts and Max is allergic to eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish, so dinners are very complicated at our house,” Margolis said.
In December, 8-year-old Jack went to the emergency room while on a family vacation, even though the waitress had assured them his meal was dairy-free. It’s a constant stress for Laurie, who has brainstormed ways to raise awareness.
“One day we were watching television and my son said out of nowhere, 'Why isn’t there a character that has food allergies if so many kids have it?'" Margolis recounted.
That’s when Mighty Jax was born. Margolis created the Mighty Jax stuffed doll that includes two fabric auto injectors attached to a special pouch on the doll’s waist.
She also wrote a book about a young boy who has an allergic reaction at a playdate, but knows exactly what to do.
“Jax is a combination of Jack and Max and the idea just kind of began,” Margolis said. “He’s a superhero, because I wanted kids to feel empowered and inspired and to feel that if they did have a reaction, it’s okay,."
The book was first published in February. The book and the doll are sold as a set through her website. Three weeks in, Margolis said she has dozens of orders.
One book went to Banner Preschool in Northfield, where about 10 of the 80 children enrolled have food allergies.
“We have to have an allergy action plan for each child,” said Christine Perkins, Banner Preschool Director.
Perkins said the book is great way to educate her preschoolers.
“I think you can never expose them early enough for both the children with allergy and the children without to be aware of the potentially life-threatening situation that can occur,” she said.
The Margolis family feels Mighty Jax’ message is important.
“Be strong if you have food allergies,” 7-year-old Max Margolis said.