Welcome to POCHA of Will County
About POCHA of Will County
POCHA of Will County is a support and advocacy group affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hospital’s Department of Allergy in Chicago, Illinois, a non-profit organization, Associated Allergists & Specialists, Ltd., and Pediatric Health Associates, Ltd. We are committed to educating others, raising awareness, and acting as advocates for our food-allergic children.
We invite you to attend our meetings in Joliet, Illinois, a Southwestern Suburb of Chicago. Our meeting dates and locations are located under our Meetings and Events page. POCHA of Will County includes members from the Plainfield/Joliet area (Will County), which is very broad, along with Kendall County, Grundy County, Kankakee County, LaSalle County, and other Chicagoland areas that wish to participate in our meetings.
Our Medical Advisors are Michael Flais, M.D. of Associated Allergists and Asthma Specialists, Ltd. with several locations in Illinois and Shelly Flais, M.D., F.A.A.P. of Pediatric Health Associates, Ltd. serving Naperville, Plainfield, and West Chicago.
Michael J. Flais, M.D. earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio and completed his Allergy/Immunology training at Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Dr. Flais is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and has worked with Associated Allergists & Asthma Specialists in Naperville, Orland Park and Flossmoor since he finished training in 2002. In addition to co-writing a book chapter on drug allergies, he has published several scientific articles, two of which involved food allergies. He is the proud father of four young children, including twins. Two of his children have food allergies.
Shelly Flais, M.D., F.A.A.P. is a board-certified pediatrician, wife and mother of four, and is the author of the American Academy of Pediatrics book Raising Twins, From Pregnancy to Preschool– Advice from a Pediatrician Mom of Twins. Dr. Flais trained at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine as well as Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She practices pediatrics with Pediatric Health Associates, with offices in Naperville, Plainfield, and West Chicago. Two of her four children have been living with food allergies for years, and she understands the concerns and challenges facing families dealing with allergies from a personal, as well as, professional perspective.
Chris & Michele Abbott live in Bourbonnais, Illinois with their three sons. Their oldest son has life-threatening food allergies to milk & eggs and also has environmental allergies and asthma. They have been members of POCHA of Will County since 2006 when POCHA first started. They attend the FAAN Annual Patient Conference in Chicago each year and participate in the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago every year as committee members and volunteers on Walk Day. In 2008, they were named Parent Ambassadors for the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago.
Ray & Dawn Peckler live in Lockport, Illinois with their three daughters, all of whom suffer from asthma and environmental allergies, and their youngest child with life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, and mango. They learned of her food allergies when she was 13 months old. Ray & Dawn also have environmental allergies and asthma. They have been members of POCHA since 2007 and are grateful to have the support of POCHA of Will County along with other food allergy organizations, which continue to educate them on keeping their food-allergic daughter safe. They also participate in FAAN's Walk for Food Allergy in Chicago each year as committee members and volunteers on Walk Day along with attending FAAN's Annual Patient Conference each year.
Eleanor Garrow is the founder of POCHA of Will County. Her son was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies at 19 months of age; he also suffers from asthma and environmental allergies, diagnosed two years later, along with eosinophilic esophagitis. She has a Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Administration and has worked in healthcare for over 15 years. Watching POCHA grow these past years and educating other families on food allergies, whether it be a new diagnosis, questions about school, or how to start their own support group, has been a huge part of her life. Knowing that she has even helped one person or family means so much to her. She has enjoyed getting to know the families in the POCHA group and feels we all not only have a bond because of what we share with our children, but we have truly formed genuine friendships. Eleanor accepted the role of Vice President of Education & Outreach at the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) in Fairfax, VA. She provides leadership, development, and implementation of FAAN's education and outreach strategy and programs.
We invite you to join POCHA of Will County and hope to help you with any needs that you may have. You may reach the Co-Leaders through the Contact Us page for further information or any questions. We look forward to meeting you and helping you along your journey!