Coping with a Foodborne Illness?

Our Peer-to-Peer Mentors Can Help.

One thing we often hear at Stop Foodborne Illness is how stressful it is to deal with the avalanche of life challenges that befall people who are suffering from a foodborne illness experience. Physical and emotional pain, financial distress, fears around eating food, and long-term health consequences are typical issues people face.

It can be a frightening and lonely time.

Fortunately, there’s a resource available that’s helped hundreds of people get support to overcome their challenges: the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program at Stop Foodborne Illness.


Early in our history, STOP’s Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program began with a simple concept we knew would have a big, positive impact for our constituents who are victims of foodborne illness. Through this complimentary service, we match a “Constituent” who’s just wading through the treacherous waters of a current or recent foodborne illness with an experienced “Mentor” who has walked in their shoes.

When a Constituent is struggling with a plethora of questions and concerns, Mentors are like trusted, compassionate guides who are oftentimes best equipped to give a Constituent helpful answers. And being able to have open, honest conversations with a Mentor about feelings and fears is incredibly therapeutic for anyone feeling victimized by foodborne pathogens.

For instance, many Constituents are unsure about what questions are important to ask their doctors and other medical professionals at the outset of their illness. Mentors have been there and can help their Constituent matches ask the right questions such as those in the areas of diagnostics/testing and effective treatments. Many who have fallen prey to foodborne pathogens tell us this kind of assistance goes A LONG WAY toward saving valuable time, reducing stress, and getting positive outcomes.

Mentors often have tips for their Constituent match-ups on topics like:

  • Treating and dealing with physical pain
  • How to talk with family members and friends about their illness
  • Watching for long-term health consequences
  • Legal issues that may arise
  • Helpful strategies for addressing emotional trauma

Although our Mentors aren’t professionally trained and don’t replace the need for medical, legal, or mental health professionals, they’re knowledgeable, caring, compassionate people who’ve been seriously impacted by a foodborne illness. They take to heart how important it is for a hurting person to have an experienced friend in their corner as a source of comfort and assurance.


“I was asked by Stop Foodborne Illness if I’d mind speaking to Erin who had a young son going through a similar situation that my son had gone through with E coli.  I didn’t think twice and phoned.  I was delighted with our conversation.  Our stories intertwined, even though over 15 years had passed since my son Rusty had gone through his experience, their stories were so similar, the same questions, the same fear and the same anger.

Our conversations soon turned into a friendship.

Our kids spoke with each other and my son reminded her son, Trevor, that he was not alone.  Even though Trevor’s experience was far worse than Rusty’s, we had that connection.  I’m hopeful that over time Trevor and Rusty will continue to share their success stories and reflect back to their common bond.

We are in a club, a club we did not ask to join.  A club that only we understand.

I’m so grateful that Stop brought Erin, Trevor, Rusty and I together, and for our wonderful friendship!”  
                                                                                                                                                 Charlene Brown, Alpine, California 


We’d love to welcome you into our Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Mentoring Program!

To join, simply contact Stanley Rutledge, Director of Constituent Services, at or 773-269-6555, x7 to take the first step.

Whether you’re someone looking for assistance or someone who’s been through the pain of a foodborne illness and want to offer help others, we encourage you to join us and continue making this life-changing program a success.