“I just am so appreciative for all the support, empathy, care from the community and really around the world now," the mother said
Jenna Roman's 10-year-old autistic son, Jerico, has complex eating challenges which allow him to only eat waffles. He specifically preferred Nature’s Path Maple Cinnamon Waffles. Roman was heartbroken when she learned that it was discontinued so she created a GoFundMe to track down her son’s favorite waffles. What happened next might give you some hope for humanity.
Speaking of her son's condition, Roman told Today, “He was diagnosed with autism at two years old. He’s struggled with this eating challenge since eight months ago. We have worked with so many feeding therapists, but he regresses when he is sick and we have to start all over again.” Last winter, Jerico got extremely sick and stopped eating and drinking.
“He does [this] with any sickness, even the simple cold. But this time it was so hard on him and traumatic [that] he stopped eating for 12 days and stopped drinking for five days. During that time, he regressed so badly, he had to re-learn how to eat and drink again, which was so upsetting to him," the mother explained. Waffles turned out to be the only food he could stomach. “[They are] Jerico’s lifeline,” Roman said before explaining that Nature’s Path Maple Cinnamon Waffles were his brand of choice, reported TODAY.
Roman was devastated when she learned that the brand had discontinued the product. She recalled how she felt sick to her stomach about what to do next. “My desperation turned to social media to help me locate the remaining waffles,” she said. She then made a GoFundMe to help cover waffle transportation costs. “I was just hoping that people could look at their local stores to see if the waffles were there and could grab them for me so I could pay them and get them picked up.” Soon the Canadian organic food brand learned about Jerico. Ratana Stephens, CEO & Co-Founder of Nature’s Path spoke to TODAY and said, “We first heard about Jerico’s story last month after a few people reached out to us on social media. We heard how much he loved our Maple Cinnamon waffles, and how his mom Jenna was having a hard time finding them in stores, and we were really touched and wanted to help.”
Stephens revealed that Nature’s Path made it their mission to track down any available waffles remaining in stores. “We did a search across North America and found eight remaining cases in our freezer warehouse in Illinois. So we had those cases shipped up here, and then personally delivered them to Jenna and Jerico," she said. But what happens when Jerico runs out of them? Well! Stephens already had a plan. “These were the last ones ever made. So our incredible research and development team started working on adapting our commercial recipe for home use. We use a lot of commercial ingredients in our production process that aren’t available at your local grocery store, and of course, we wanted the ingredients to be easy to find. And we had to scale the amounts in the recipe way down. But our research and development team was determined to do it. They really went above and beyond, testing and tweaking the recipe," Stephens shared, reported TODAY.
The process took about a month to develop and it was handed over to Roman and her family. “They have come up with the perfect recipe that tastes just like the Nature’s Path Cinnamon Maple Waffles you used to be able to buy in the grocery store. It means the world to us to be able to help Jenna and Jerico. Many of us at the company were really affected by their story, and we are so happy we were able to help in some small way," Stephens said. Jerico is yet to try the new recipe but Roman intends to keep it a secret.
“Honestly he has no clue any of this is going on, because it would trigger more anxiety for him around eating,” she explained. “I just am so appreciative for all the support, empathy, care from the community and really around the world now. This is just amazing how far Jerico’s story has gone," she added, according to TODAY.