photo courtesy of Washington Post
Many of you “know” him… and have seen him on a “daily” basis and not even realized it! Nope he doesn’t work for the CIA or he isn’t a News Commentator or Movie Star. He is a very simple man who became an entrepreneur out of necessity to help our daughter and other children like her.
Kenny is the Inventor and Founder of a company called Flavorx. You might say Flavorx what the heck it that? Well it is the flavoring system that 43,000 or so pharmacies across the country use to “take the yuck” out of medicine. You might have had a pharmacist ask you if you would like your children’s medicine “flavored” with an assortment of fruity flavors, and he even added flavors for pets.
You might be wondering how the heck all of that began. Well, it all started with our daughters. As a parent we struggled several times with Sarah’s medications when she was little. But most of the time it was just yucky antibiotics to help her from her many ear infections. Most of the time we did what most parents do when trying to give their children medicine, we bribed, prayed, tried to reason, and just about anything a parent could do to get their child to open their mouth and swallow…
Most of the time we were successful with Sarah. However when Hadley was born that was another story. When Hadley came home from her extended stay in the NICU she came home with an array of medical paraphernalia one of which was medicine which she was required to take 3 times a day. And the medicine was Phenobarbital which is a very bitter tasting medicine. I don’t know too many adults, who could tolerate the taste; god knows I tried to see just how bad it could be… Let me tell you “bad!” But, Hadley had to take her medicine as it controlled her seizures and unless she took it all we would end up in the ER with yet again another seizure. And not only was this hard on our little 3 pound preemie but it was also hard on her 3 and a half year old sister who didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Kenny worked at his family’s pharmacy with his dad who is a pharmacist. And out of sheer frustration one night I begged him to “do something” because you know that is what we mom’s sometimes do, “beg” for miracles, or whatever it would take to help our children. So after Kenny’s usual 9-7 day work he started experimenting with flavorings and working with Hadley’s Phenobarbital. He tried a number of flavors and brought them home to see if they would be more palatable for Hadley. And finally he came up with a banana/fruity flavor which seemed to do the trick. I was thrilled because at this point I was at the end of my rope with the ER visits and Hadley swallowed her formula with the Phenobarbital in it each time.
Just below Kenny’s pharmacy is a very busy pediatric practice and Kenny chatted with the doctors about what he was doing for Hadley’s meds and he asked if they had any medication that they thought needed “help.” A lot of times doctors are caught prescribing what they think a patient will take which might not be there first choice to help an infection because they have been told by the parents that the child will not take it. Soon Kenny had started hearing from parents as far as West Virginia and Philadelphia calling him because word got out about what he was doing. It was at that time that he scratched his head and thought “Wow! I think we might have something really great here!” And after 3 years he split off from the pharmacy and incorporated after we all sat around the kitchen table to come up with a name and logo and thus the birth of Flavorx…
Kenny loved helping children, and loved speaking to parents’ everyday as he has a very big heart. I cannot tell you all of the wonderful stories I have heard about how many children’s lives he helped improve be it just taking a simple antibiotic because they tried about everything on the market and got secondary infections, to a child who had cancer whose favorite candy was Reeses so he made their meds taste as much like the chocolate peanut butter cup as possible and let that boys last days be as easy as possible in his home surrounded by his family. Kenny worked on just about every type of medicine including working on some of the most awful AIDS medications for children.
Three years ago Kenny decided to move into the next chapter of his life and sold the company. And I am so proud that it all started with my sweet compassionate husband.
Abraham Lincoln once said “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” I think Kenny stands pretty tall!