Peer to Peer Mentoring

Sharing your experience with others who have survived a foodborne disease can be one of the most beneficial connections and sources of information for anyone dealing with the aftermath.

                                                                                                             Mary McGonigle Martin, Constituent Advocate

Our Peer to Peer program is comprised of constituent-mentors who are available to offer compassionate insight based on their personal experiences. Most importantly, our mentors understand how emotional, overwhelming and chaotic your world has become and they are available to offer a listening ear. You do not need to struggle on your own.

Finding answers reduces stress. STOP’s constituent-mentors may provide insight as to the types of questions to ask medical professionals treating you or your loved one(s).  Whether you are establishing a “new normal”, trying to manage physical pain or how to communicate with family and friends about your illness and possible long-term consequences, our constituent-mentors are willing and able to help you navigate your new reality.

Peer to Peer Mentoring connects an individual or a family member who is currently struggling to manage the persistent effects of foodborne illness to a mentor who has been similarly impacted and can share her/his unique perspective. Our mentors are not professionally trained and should not replace knowledgeable medical, legal, or mental health professionals; they are, however, individuals whose lives have been seriously impacted by foodborne pathogens and know that having an experienced friend or advocate in your corner can be a vital source of comfort and assurance.

Once connected to a constituent-mentor, the two of you determine the type of relationship you would like to create – one for emotional support,  for gaining information and insight or two friends sharing their experiences together. We’re simply the matchmaker.

You are not alone.

These services are
completely free.

To inspire, encourage and be a valuable resource for anyone whose head is spinning because they’ve been dropped into the middle of a storm.

Sharing Experience:
a Great Alternative

Online Support Groups

There’s something really powerful about groups and shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief. A community creates belief.

                                                                                                                    Charles Duhigg, American author

Our Online Support Groups are comprised of individuals with insight and compassion, much of which is informed by their personal foodborne illness experience. We aim to lead with kindness and understand how overwhelming and chaotic the world can be when one is juggling so many emotions. You are not alone.

Sometimes it’s not so much about finding answers as it is about being heard. There are so many conflicting messages about issues like PTSD, anxiety and depression, medical trauma, and the stages of grief. Facing a fear of food or worrying about sibling challenges increases the impacts felt as a result of food poisoning. Drawing from the knowledge and wisdom of guest speakers such as trauma counselors, medical professionals, food safety leaders and constituent-advocates we aspire to engage and support individuals and families where they are.

There is an online support group for Survivors, and one for Parents/Spouses of Survivors. Each group will have opportunity to learn about and discuss a topic for the month, as well as having time to share their personal experience. A third group, which is still in planning, will be for Parents who have lost a child to a foodborne pathogen.

Every participant is expected to uphold these norms:

  • Be Respectful
  • Remembering that everything said in the group is confidential
  • Be mindful of listening while someone is speaking
  • Be aware that every member is at a different stage in their grief experience

Stop Foodborne Illness came along at just the right time.

Though it seemed that everything was getting “back to normal” and I was healthy and ready to jump back into a full life, I still had some pretty strong fears about having this experience happen all over again.

Jillian was a Godsend!

After speaking with her for only five minutes I had no doubt that she totally understood where I was coming from. I knew that I was not alone, and that gave me strength.

Katie R

E. coli Survivor

A common thread. Becoming a Peer Mentor has been amazing. Even though our stories were 15 years apart, and her son’s experience was far worse than my son’s, we shared a common thread. 

I’m pretty sure that making a connection with another mom did as much for me as it did for her. I consider it a privilege to not only share my family’s story, but to inspire, encourage and be a valuable resource for anyone whose head is spinning because they’ve been dropped into the middle of a storm.

It started as two mothers sharing their stories, but because of our shared passions and outlook, we’ve become not only stronger voices for food safety but also friends. STOP has become more than just a resource for my family, they’ve become my family.

Charlene B.

Mother of E. coli survivor, Rustin

For Peer to Peer and Online Support Groups
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Upcoming Support Meetings (via Zoom)
Saturday, October 15 at 9 am PST
Monday, October 10 at 9 am PST