When Raymond Dunn, Jr. was born in 1975, he had a fractured skull, an undersized brain, and severe developmental disabilities due to a lack of oxygen.
He was not expected to survive his first year.
Even worse, he had severe asthma and food allergies that prevented him from eating any food but one: Gerber MBF (Meat Based Formula), an infant formula made from beef hearts, designed specially for babies who could not tolerate cow's milk
In 1985, Gerber discontinued the manufacture of MBF in favor of a soy-based formula. Dunn's parents, Carol and Raymond, Sr., were devastated. Carol contacted Gerber and implored them to change their decision. Research director George Purvis (page 8, warning PDF)
offered the formula free of charge to any company who would produce the food, but none agreed. Finally, Gerber rounded up its entire remaining inventory of MBF, got a waiver from the FDA and shipped it to Carol free of charge.
In 1990, though, Raymond Jr. ran out of MBF, and there was no more left, in the whole world. At that point, Gerber's nutritional research staff stepped up and volunteered to recover, clean and reassemble mothballed equipment formerly used to produce MBF
. "It seemed like the right thing to do," said Gerber nutritionist Dr. Sandra Bartholmey
. The company allotted more than a fifth of production space to the MBF line for a one-time, two year run of MBF
. Two years later, they did it again, and then one more time.
When Raymond Jr. died in 1995 at age 20, he had about a year's supply of MBF left
. His parents, Raymond and Carol, redirected the energy they had poured into loving and caring for their son
, who never saw more than light and shadow, nor weighed more than 38 pounds, into helping other families with "medically fragile children." Today, the Raymond Dunn, Jr. Rainbow House provides residential support to medically fragile adults (warning PDF)
in their upstate New York community.