Now and again you can find Dave Smith on the syndicated television show, “The Car Czar,” offering up safe driving tips and nourishing pre-race tailgating grilling recipes. The Novato, California NASCAR K&N Pro Series West driver clearly has a better than average appreciation for both driving and sustenance. For over two years, Dave and his wife, Dorine have searched tirelessly for a way to ensure their special needs daughter receives proper nutrition. Born three-and-a-half months early, Adrianna was never a good eater.
Some physicians believe in the term pediatric anorexia as a diagnosis, others think it is merely a label for what could be a myriad of reasons why a child won’t eat. In other words, they don’t yet fully understand the causes. Adrianna was tagged with pediatric anorexia and her eating trouble most likely stemmed from her premature birth and the oral aversions she developed in the NICU. Imagine a frail one and half pound baby, and instead of being in the protection of her mom’s womb, she’s blasted with intense light and loud noises. Every touch is painful. She can’t breathe on her own and her tiny face is jam-packed with tubes going into her nose, taped down so that they can’t be dislodged. The tubes keep her alive, yet she grows to hate them. Eventually she can’t tolerate anything near her face, not even a bottle or food. This was Adrianna’s complicated start in life.
Shortly after her first birthday, the Smith’s were forced to have a feeding tube surgically placed in Adrianna’s stomach so that they could feed her. The problem got exasperated because the insurance company recommended commercial formulas that are filled with sugar, corn syrup and chemicals. It was the equivalent of stuffing Adrianna with high sugar content soft drinks, five times a day, and expecting her to get healthier. Adrianna wasn’t taking to the feeding tube formula, and Dave and Dorine were getting desperate. Then they discovered something called “Liquid Hope.”
The Smith’s found out about Liquid Hope, crafted by Functional Formularies, through an online group of parents who have children with feeding difficulties. After years of searching for better nutrition, they were overjoyed to find a product they felt good about feeding their daughter through her feeding tube. Functional Formularies’ feeding-tube formula consists of nothing but “real” food – nutritionally dense, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, GMO-free whole food, with complex carbohydrates and no sugar added.
Eternally grateful for Functional Formularies, the veteran racer is using his No. 88 iON Cameras/Sonoma Harvest Chevy to raise awareness and promote a healthy feeding tube formula, by placing the life changing company’s logo on his racecar. 750,000 children in the U.S. have severe feeding struggles. Proper nutrition is a vital function for survival and development. When children are unable to eat, they can’t thrive cognitively, physically, or emotionally. Difficulty feeding is often an underlying symptom for such conditions as autism, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, and congenital heart defects.
“My fellow competitors are very supportive of my daughter’s situation,” said Smith. “I enjoy the awareness NASCAR creates for special needs children, especially those born premature or who are tube feeding reliant. Those causes are very close to my heart because of what my family has been through. NASCAR strives to find diversity in their racers and so our new Liquid Hope partnership is being well received at the track, especially because it relates to people who are different.”
Adrianna has shown great improvements in her weight gain since starting Liquid Hope. Her vocabulary is rapidly expanding and she no longer complains about her “tummy hurting.” “Most exciting, her willingness to eat is emerging – we know we are doing something right!” adds Dorine. The Smiths are hopeful their daughter will be free of the dependency of her feeding tube before she starts kindergarten. Their intensive daily therapy schedule is aggressively working towards that goal.
The Naake-Klaurer Motorsports No.88 car will run again at Portland next month with support from Liquid Hope. There are also plans for Smith to drive in the Daytona 24 Hour endurance race, but details haven’t yet been finalized.
This article was written by Olaf Wolff and originally featured on the K&N Engineering website.