Everyone with dietary restrictions knows the struggle of going to the grocery store, scanning the nutrition, and sighing when it doesn’t quite meet the requirements you need.
That exasperation, looking for a good snack food that could still fit a specific diet, is what led Megan and Scott Reamer to develop Jackson’s Honest Chips. You might have seen the healthy snack company on ABC’s show, “Shark Tank”. That show led them to an investment of 1.25 million. Rohan Oza, a guest star on the show, valued the small company at 8 million dollars. It also gave the Reamers a platform to share the story of their son, Jackson, and where the healthy chips began.
When the Reamers first started experimenting with making their own chips, they were along way from establishing a company. Both Megan and Scott came from business backgrounds, but that wasn’t on their mind. They were looking for foods that could help combat Jackson’s rare disease.
Jackson started out life a healthy baby, but in his toddler years, his parents noticed something was wrong. His movements and motor skills started to deteriorate, until at age 5, he was unable to walk. At first, they thought it was ALS or multiple sclerosis, but after years of searching for an explanation, they received a different diagnosis. Jackson suffered from Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, not to be confused with Aicardi syndrome. It’s an incredibly rare disease, which causes inflammation in the brain. To learn more about this rare disease, click here.
There is no cure for Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, but the Reamers learned that a diet full of saturated fats had some positive effect. They dedicated themselves to making sure they gave Jackson the healthiest diet for his condition that they could, which often meant making their own food. There were a lot of soggy chip trial runs, but after experimenting for a while they found the version that is now in stores across the US. They started slow simmering potato and tortilla chips in coconut oil.
These efforts helped make Jackson among the healthiest patients with his disease, for the sixteen years he spent with the people who loved him. Only days after the family filmed their episode on “Shark Tank,” in August, the family went for a drive. Jackson was in good spirits as they got in the car. After a little while, his breathing became troubled, and the family pulled over. His pulse was lost by the time the EMTs arrived; he died that day.