The Canary Kids Project: Grassroots Initiative Tackles New Childhood Epidemics
Mar 26, 2014 06:17PM
● By Beth Lambert
Sean Iorio, one of our canaries returning from the coal mine.
One of the greatest paradoxes of our times is that the most affluent, resourced and medically advanced societies in the world also have the highest rates of chronic childhood illness. Obesity and diabetes, autism and neurodevelopmental delays, and digestive and allergic diseases were rare just a generation ago. Today those illnesses are impacting our children in epidemic numbers, and the social, economic and human costs are staggering. Our children are the “canaries in the coal mine” of national health. For their sakes, we must take action now.
“The Fierce Urgency of Now”
Some startling statistics:
- Rates of autism have risen over the last few decades from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50 children. Autism costs the United States $126 billion per year.
- Asthma affects 1 in 8 children, and as many as 1 in 6 African American children. Asthma costs the United States $56 billion per year.
- One in 3 American children is either overweight or obese. Obesity-related medical costs account for $190 billion, or 21 percent of medical spending in the United States; childhood obesity carries a price tag of $14 billion a year in direct medical costs.
- One in 30 children is diagnosed with pediatric depression. The United States spends $83 billion a year on depression.
- Approximately 10 percent of American children have ADD/ADHD, and some 17 percent are labeled “learning disabled.” ADHD is estimated to cost the United States upwards of $100 billion per year.
There is a “fierce urgency of now” to take swift action to address this epidemic.
The Canary Kids Project
The Canary Kids Project (CKP) is an innovative, not-for-profit project aimed at identifying and addressing the individual issues at the root of this epidemic. The project tests and documents an integrative, results-oriented model of health care that takes a look upstream at the causes of chronic illness, rather than downstream at the symptoms.
There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence indicating that individuals with chronic conditions, even autism, can fully recover. The Canary Kids Project seeks to test and explore, through proper and rigorous scientific methodology, the underpinnings of these anecdotal successes.
In 2014, CKP aims to enroll and support 14 chronically ill children through a healing and recovery journey. The children will come from five locations throughout the United States, and their illnesses will include autism, ADHD, asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, mood disorders, obesity/type II diabetes and atopic disease/eczema. Up to seven of these children will be featured in a groundbreaking feature-length documentary film, Canary Kids, which will spread the much-needed message of hope: Recovery is possible.
A Unique Approach to Healing
The Canary Kids Project was founded on the belief that healing requires an integrative yet individualized approach, one that encourages the body’s own healing responses rather than suppression of symptoms. Each enrolled child and family will be paired with a clinical care coordinator (guided and supported by a team of medical mentors led by Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, of the Health Studies Collegium, and Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School), and a health coach to help them navigate the many challenges and obstacles on their journey to healing.
A variety of healing modalities will be provided, including, but not limited to personalized nutritional support (including whole, organic, biodynamically-sourced food, and supplementation, if warranted); predictive and functional laboratory and developmental assessments; nontoxic personal and home products; environmental assessments; personalized therapeutic modalities; and emotional/spiritual support.
Financial Support Needed
The Canary Kids Project urgently needs financial backing. Before the 14 children can be enrolled in the program, we need to raise the $5 million necessary to fund the healing, the scientific documentation and the creation of a documentary film that shares the message that recovery is possible.
Hundreds of individuals have already contributed financially to support this people-powered project, but we need more help! Please make a tax-deductible donation today by visiting CanaryKidsMovie.com/donate, or send a tax-deductible donation to the sponsoring organization: Epidemic Answers, PO Box 191, West Simsbury, CT 06092. Epidemic Answers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Beth Lambert is the founder and executive director of Epidemic Answers, and the executive producer of the Canary Kids Project. To learn more about the Canary Kids Project and to watch a short video about it, visit CanaryKidsMovie.com.