Tag Archives: Peggy Lillis Foundation

FIGHT C. DIFFICILE – 7th Annual Peggy Lillis Foundation Gala


Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lovely and graceful, isn’t it? This is an image of a single Clostridium difficile bacterium. But it’s a pathological killer, definitely not something you want to take over your large intestine.
Have you ever even heard of it? And are you aware that antibiotics (taken as a prescribed drug or consumed in factory farmed meats) can kill off the good probiotic bacteria in your gut and make you very ill with a C. diff  infection – even kill you?
Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases


The Peggy Lillis Foundation was started by Peggy’s two sons, Christian and Liam, after their 56 year old mother died in April of 2010 from a C. diff infection six days after getting a root canal. Her dentist had prescribed the broad spectrum antibiotic Clindamycin to treat an abscess. She developed diarrhea and assumed she’d gotten a stomach virus. Several days later, when the ‘ stomach virus’ symptoms had intensified to the point that the diarrhea was much worse and she was pale, dizzy, and unable to keep any food down, she spoke to her doctor by phone. He apparently wasn’t aware of the symptoms of C. diff and prescribed a prescription strength anti-diarrheal medicine – without ever asking if she’d recently taken any antibiotics.
By the time her sons realized how sick she was and took her to a hospital, she was in septic shock. The ER docs eventually correctly identified her massive infection as C. diff caused by the Clindamycin  and made much worse by the anti-diarrheal.
The doctors did everything they could to save her, including removing her colon, where a C. diff  infection grows – but nothing worked. She eventually went into cardiac arrest and died.
The Cause of Death listed on her death certificate didn’t even mention C. diff.
Neither Peggy nor her sons had ever heard of C. diff  before. And maybe her dentist and doctor hadn’t either. At least they both acted as if they were unaware that antibiotics could lead to virulent, pathogenic C. diff bacteria opportunistically taking over the colon by killing off most of the probiotic bacteria in there, giving the pathogenic C. diff bacteria a chance to proliferate wildly until they killed their host.
Source: Slideshare
Source: SlideShare


So that their mother’s sudden horrific death not be totally in vain, Christian and Liam Lillis started a foundation in her honor a few months later. Its mission is:
To build a nationwide Clostridium difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.




Now in its seventh year, the highly respected Peggy Lillis Foundation has become a leading actor in the fight against  C. diff. It has also become a key resource for patients, families, providers, policymakers and advocates.
The Foundation’s 7th Annual Fight C. Diff Gala was held yesterday evening, 21 October 2016. It was a chance for people working toward the PLF’s goals in various ways to come together to give and receive  support and encouragement. The food was good too!
At the gala, the PLF honored people and organizations who are making a difference in the fight against C. diff by furthering its goals of LEADERSHIP, INNOVATION, AND ADVOCACY.
A LEADERSHIP AWARD was presented to the Mount Sinai Health System (New York City):


“Over the past 18 months, Mount Sinai Health System has demonstrated that true leadership at every level of hospital and clinical operations can have an enormous and lifesaving impact in reducing C. diff infections. Since 2014, Mount Sinai has reduced its hospital-acquired C. diff infections  by more than 40%. This reduction not only saved the health system money, but it also prevented a great deal of harm.”

An INNOVATORS AWARD was presented to the CDIFFerently Care Team of Northwell Health (formerly North Shore-LIJ Health System):



“The CDIFFerently Care Team of Northwell Healthy’s innovative approach to assembling and mobilizing a multidisciplinary team on the 6 Monti unit reduced C. diff infections by 50% in a single year. The team is now working to spread its successful innovation to other parts of Northwell Health.”

An ADVOCATE AWARD was present to NY State Senator Martin J. Golden (R, District 22):

NY State Senator Martin J. Golden


“Senator Martin J. Golden was our mother Peggy’s representative. Senator Golden has long been an advocate for the public school system that Peggy loved as well as a fervent champion for our state’s senior citizens. As Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, Senator Golden was credited by nationally recognized advocacy groups for championing the rights of senior citizens through the Assisted Living Law of 2004. Under his leadership, a number of significant bills affecting older Americans have been enacted, including a new Elderlaw, the Senior Bill of Rights: Long Term Care Reform, internet posting of retail prescription drug prices and a single EPIC/Medicare prescription drug card.”

See A Q&A with Sen. Marty Golden, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree to learn more about Senator Golden’s work.
Another ADVOCATE AWARD was presented to NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D, District 36, retired):

NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (Retired)


“Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson’s career, first as a pediatric nurse, then as a successful executive, and most recently, serving 16 years as the state senator from New York’s 36th district, exemplifies public service. She is also a C. diff survivor, having  battled the disease following knee surgery. Senator Hassell-Thompson retired from the senate in July to serve as Special Advisor for Policy and Community Affairs, for New York State Housing and Community Renewal.”

See A Q&A with Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree to learn more about her work in public service and her own battle with C. diff.



  • In September 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated CDIs as an urgent public health threat requiring “aggressive action”
  • 475,000 Americans incur a CDI each year averaging one new infection every minute
  • 250,000 require hospitalization
  • 29,000 die annually
  • 17,000 cases of CDI in children
  • In 2011, CDIs killed more Americans than drunk driving or HIV/AIDS.


The numbers of C. diff infections and deaths have been rising sharply each year since 2011.





Visit the Peggy Lillis Foundation website to learn more about its work, read personal stories by people who have successfully battled C. diff and some who have lost loved ones to it, and find out what is being done about this epidemic and how you can help – and why you should even care about any of this.


Peggy Lillis with Her Kindergarten Class






Like Peggy Lillis, I became ill with a C. diff infection in April 2010. I’d never heard of it before either. Unlike Peggy, it didn’t kill me. If you’re interested, you can read the story of how I won my battle with it: “Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study.”  (Hardin, 2011)


Source: SlideShare
Source: SlideShare



From the program booklet for yesterday evening’s PLF’s 2016 gala:
“77% of Americans have never heard of C. diff. As we learned with the tragic death of our mother, it is impossible to prevent a disease you don’t know exists.”





Hardin, J.R. (2011).  Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37. See: http://peggyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/C.-difficile-OMJ-article-lo-res.pdf

Peggy Lillis Foundation. (2016). See: http://peggyfoundation.org/

Lillis, C,  (10/17/2016). PLF Blog: A Q&A with Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree. See: https://peggyfoundation.org/a-qa-with-sen-ruth-hassell-thompson-2016-advocates-award-honoree/

Tiffany. (10/1/2016). PLF Blog: A Q&A with Sen. Marty Golden, 2016 Advocates Award Honoree. See: https://peggyfoundation.org/a-qa-with-sen-marty-golden-2016-advocates-award-honoree/




© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.



(Source: fatburningman.com)


Christian John Lillis, of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, sent this text to me yesterday:

At a talk by Bruce Hirsch on FMT and he just said, referring to antibiotics, “What happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut.” I thought that was well put.

–   Christian John Lillis on 3/9/2016

Well put indeed! Dr Hirsch succinctly summed up, in one short sentence, antibiotics’ huge, deleterious impact on the probiotic bacteria living in our gut microbes … and from there to the rest of  the body. Wreck your gut microbiome and you’re wrecking your health.


Bruce E. Hirsch, MD

Specialist in Infectious Disease & Geriatric Medicine



If you wish to read more about Dr Hirsch and fecal-derived microbiota transfers (FMT) for recurring Clostridium difficile infections, see: After Antibiotics, the Feces Pill Remains (Khazan, 2013) and Effectiveness of fecal-derived microbiota transfer using orally administered capsules for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (Hirsch et al, 2015).



About the Peggy Lillis Foundation:


The mission of the Peggy Lillis Foundation is to build a nationwide clostridium difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.
The PLF envisions a world where C. diff is rare, treatable and survivable.


What is Clostridium difficile infection?

“Clostridium difficile [pronounced Klo-STRID-ee-um dif-uh-SEEL], also known as “C. diff” [See-dif], is a germ that can cause diarrhea. Most cases of C. diff infection occur in patients taking antibiotics. The most common symptoms of a C. diff infection include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Belly pain and tenderness “
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015








Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015).  Clostridium difficile Infection Information for Patients. See: http://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff-patient.html

Hirsch et al. (2015). Effectiveness of fecal-derived microbiota transfer using orally administered capsules for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. BMC Infectious Diseases, 15:191. See: http://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-015-0930-z

Khazan, O. (2013). After Antibiotics, the Feces Pill Remains. The Atlantic. See: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/12/after-antibiotics-the-feces-pill-remains/281925/

Lillis, C.J. (3/9/2016). Personal communication.

Peggy Lillis Foundation. (2016). See: http://peggyfoundation.org



© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Please Join Me to Help Stop Clostridium Difficile Infections


I’m well aware that this topic, Clostridium difficile, is far from sexy and maybe is something you’d rather not ever think about. In spite of that, I’m going to talk a bit about it and the  epidemic it has become – and then suggest a way you can help stop it.





In 2011, C. diff caused nearly 500,000 reported infections in the US – a statistic rivaling car accidents and gun violence. That year, 29,000 CDI patients died within 30 days of diagnosis. For those who survived an initial CDI, the infection often recurred at least once in about 1 in 5 patients. And the number of reported C. diff infections has increased each year since 2011.



Image Credit: University of Michigan Medical School
Image Credit: University of Michigan Medical School


Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming bacterium that can colonize the human colon, creating a C. difficile infection (CDI) when the array of healthy microorganisms in the gut’s microbiome has become depleted – often from antibiotics, which kill off the gut microbiome’s good bacteria along with the pathogenic ones.



For the past five years, the Peggy Lillis Foundation has been engaged in building a nationwide C. difficile awareness movement by educating the public, empowering advocates, and shaping policy.
My interest in the PLF’s work was spurred by a personal encounter with this dire infection. While on vacation in 2010, I developed symptoms of C. diff (although at the time I had no idea what was causing my acute GI distress). I felt increasingly unwell after returning home, consulted with my health care provider, and was diagnosed with C. diff from a stool sample. Once I had the diagnosis, I did research on how it was treated and learned that heavy duty antibiotics like metronidazole (Flagyl) and vancomycin (Vancocin) were usually prescribed.



(Source: fatburningman.com)
(Source: fatburningman.com)


Since it had been years of antibiotics that had compromised the healthy bacteria living in my gut, this approach made little sense to me. Instead, my healthcare team and I devised a regimen of nutritional supplements to kill off the pathological C. diff bacteria while at the same time rebuilding a population of probiotic bacteria in my gut microbiome.
So you can see that the mission of the Peggy Lillis Foundation coincides with my own personal interests and goals.
The Peggy Lillis Foundation is a nonprofit devoted to fighting C. diff. through education and advocacy. The work of the PLF is highly regarded – the Centers for Disease Control and several federal Cabinet agencies have partnered with it to implement awareness and prevention strategies.



This past summer I took part in a nationwide Summit of Advocates  working with the Peggy Lillis Foundation to build awareness about the C. diff. epidemic. Since only 35% of Americans know about this deadly disease, advocacy on it is very important. Ignorance of C. diff. and failure to recognize its symptoms contribute to deaths from it. Many deaths and much chronic suffering caused by C. diff. can be prevented by greater awareness among consumers, healthcare professionals and policymakers – along with improved cleaning strategies and antibiotic protocols in healthcare settings.





I hope you’ll be willing to make a tax deductible contribution to help the Peggy Lillis Foundation continue to fulfill its mission of working toward a world where C. diff is rare, treatable and survivable.
You can donate by going to the Peggy Lillis Foundation’s home page. There’s a green DONATE button in the upper right corner. Any help you can provide (large or small) will be very much appreciated.
There’s still lots of work to be done.
Thank you,

Joan Rothchild Hardin, PhD




For information on C. diff from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, see Clostridium difficile infection.
If you’re interested in reading the article I wrote about the regimen I used to vanquish my C. diff. infection, see Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study on the Peggy Lillis Foundation site.



(Source: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html)
(Source: CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html)





Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (2016). Clostridium difficile Infection. See: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cdiff/Cdiff_infect.html

Hardin, J.R. (2011).  Successful holistic treatment of Clostridium difficile gut infection: case study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37. See: http://peggyfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/C.-difficile-OMJ-article-lo-res.pdf

Peggy Lillis Foundation. (2016). See: http://peggyfoundation.org



© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

BIMUNO – PREbiotics for Anxiety, OCD, Depression & Overall Health





I was looking for a non-pharmaceutical way to help my anxious and OCD patients so asked my supplements guru, David Miller, MD at LifeThyme (a health food store in NYC). He sent information about a new PREbiotic supplement that’s been demonstrated to be helpful for anxiety and OCD thinking – and the entire immune system located in the gut microbiome. It’s called Bimuno®. (Miller, 2015)
Bimuno® isn’t readily available yet in the US but can be ordered from the company’s website in England. Research on it and the information on the company’s site are very interesting.
It comes as sachets of tasteless powder to sprinkle over food or add to drinks and also as soft chewable pastilles. I just ordered some (the pastilles) to try myself – especially to use during travels outside the country, which often lead to upsets in my gut microbiome.
Bimuno® is a new PREbiotic product that feeds the good, PRObiotic bacteria living in our guts (such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) to the detriment of the bad bacteria (pathogens). As the good bacteria multiply, they flush out the bad bacteria.








PREBIOTICS are specialized plant fibers containing complex sugars (such as inulin,  fructo-ogliosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides) that are indigestible by humans but promote the growth of beneficial bacteria (PROBIOTICS) living in our gut microbiomes by serving as food for them.
PROBIOTICS are helpful, live bacteria and yeasts our bodies need to function and maintain good health. They are found in fermented foods such as kefir, live-culture yogurt, real sauerkraut and pickles (not ones made with vinegar), kimchi, kombucha and other naturally fermented foods. If our gut flora has already become seriously out of balance, we can also benefit from taking high quality probiotics as supplements to populate the necessary array of friendly bacteria in our gut microbiomes. There are hundreds of probiotic species living in the human gut – some that are known to be ancient life forms and many that scientists haven’t even been able to identify yet.
Sometimes PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS are combined in the same supplements, called SYNBIOTICS.
See my earlier posts Prebiotics and Probiotics and  PREbiotics and PREbiotics for more information.










From the Bimuno® website:

Scientific studies have demonstrated that Bimuno can significantly increase levels of Bifidobacteria (good bacteria) in the gut.1

Bimuno is the only second generation Galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotic available. It is a truly unique prebiotic with a powerful Bifidogenic effect.

3D Model of the patented prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharide

Bimuno’s unique galacto-oligosaccharide structure

It selectively boosts Bifidobacteria which play a key role in immune function and maintaining and building a healthy digestive system.

Bimuno is the result of many years of intensive research by a team of international digestive health experts and the University of Reading.

A number of clinical trials have been published and there is an ongoing research and development program into Bimuno across a number of health areas including:

  • The Immune system
  • Various aspects of digestive Health
  • Digestive health while abroad
  • Various aspects of human metabolism

Reference: 1. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87 :785-91


Bimuno® original powder is the natural way to increase and energise your good gut bacteria helping you to manage your gut health.  Bimuno works in a similar way to prebiotics naturally found in human breast milk which promote a healthy bacterial balance within the gut.

Scientific studies indicate that the unique second generation Galacto-oligosaccharide formulation of Bimuno powder, can help to encourage and sustain a healthy level of your friendly gut bacteria(Bifidobacteria). In fact Bimuno has the most potent bifidogenic (Bifidobacteria promoting) effect of any available prebiotic.

Published scientific studies have shown that, with daily use, the majority of Bimuno users experience a significant increase in their gut Bifidobacterium within just 7 days.

This in itself is impressive but by a unique anti-adhesive action it also helps flush ‘bad’ bacteria from your gut at the same time for a healthy microflora balance.

Give your digestive system a healthy boost

Bimuno powder:

  • Increases your Bifidobacteria levels, helping to maintain a healthy intestinal balance.
  • Reduces gas producing bacteria
  • Reduces bad bacteria levels
  • Energises your friendly gut bacteria
  • By maintaining a healthy digestive balance you can support overall well-being










Christian John Lillis, of the Peggy Lillis Foundation, reports noticing an uptick in the number of people on Clostridium difficile Facebook groups who mention that they’re also struggling with anxiety. (Lillis, 2015)
This overlap between C. diff (a serious bacterial infection of the colon) and anxiety isn’t at all surprising. An out of balance (dysbiotic) gut microbiome produces a wide variety of symptoms – including anxiety, depression, and OCD.





Animal studies have previously shown a link between mood and brain function and probiotics in the gut microbiota. Ingestion of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (a strain of PRObiotic) has been demonstrated to modulate information processing strongly linked to anxiety and depression and to improve the neuro-endocrine stress response in lab animals – in plain English, this probiotic turned anxious, fearful mice into mellow ones.
Now new research on healthy human adults conducted by a group of neurobiologists at Oxford University demonstrated that supplementation with PREbiotics (Bimuno® galacto-oligosaccharides, B-GOS) lowered the subjects’ neuro-endocrine stress responses and increased their ability to  process positive versus negative attentional vigilance. In other words, PREbiotic supplementation with Bimuno REDUCED THEIR ANXIETY LEVELS AND OCD THINKING.
The researchers assessed how subjects processed emotional information, such as positively and negatively charged words, after they’d been taking the prebiotic supplement. Results showed that the supplemented group paid less attention to negative information and more attention to positive information than either a group given another type of prebiotic (fructooligosaccharides, FOS) or a group given a placebo. The people who had taken Bimuno® also had lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone linked with anxiety and depression) in their morning saliva.
A similar effect has been observed in people taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pharmaceutical medication. (Schmidt et al, 2014) (Gregoire, 2015)
This is very good news for people suffering from anxiety and OCD. Taking a prebiotic supplement may relieve their life-impinging symptoms while also improving their overall physical health – without the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals.




Information listed on the box of Bimuno powder sachets:
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Lactose (from milk)
  • Glucose syrup
  • Thickener (gum arabic)
  • Galactose
  • Acidity regulator (trisodium citrate)
  • Free from artificial colors, flavours and preservatives
  • Gluten-free
  • 16 Cal/sachet
The galacto-oligosaccharides in Bimuno® are a mixture of disaccharides, trisaccharides, a tetrasaccharide and a pentasaccharide.






I recommend checking out the Bimuno website. The pull down menus are chock full of useful and fascinating information about digestive and whole body health, prebiotics/ probiotics and the immune system.
See the information under:
  • Maintain your digestive health
  • Digestive problems & solutions
  • Support your immune defences
  • Digestive health for traveling







Bimuno. (2015). Bimuno’s website. See: http://www.bimuno.com/

Depeint, F. et al. (2008). Prebiotic evaluation of a novel galactooligosaccharide mixture produced by the enzymatic activity ofBifidobacterium bifidum NCIMB 41171, in healthy humans: a randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention study. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/785.full

Gregoire, C. (2015). The Surprising Link Between Gut Bacteria And Anxiety. The Huffington Post. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/04/gut-bacteria-mental-healt_n_6391014.html

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Probiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2014). PREbiotics and PRObiotics. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/?s=prebiotics

Lillis, J.C. (2015). Private communication.

Miller, D. (2015). Private communication.

Schmidt, K. (2014). Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers. See: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00213-014-3810-0

Vulevic, J. et al. (2008). Modulation of the fecal microflora profile and immune function by a novel trans-galactooligosaccharide mixture (B-GOS) in healthy elderly volunteers. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/88/5/1438.short



© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.


DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.