Peyton’s Potion was co-founded by Jess Armstrong and her son, Peyton, when he was undergoing treatment for childhood leukemia at the age of ten. After much persistence, Jess received a detailed roadmap of what Peyton’s three-and-a-half-year journey would look like in regards to treatment and immediately went into research mode, looking into the drugs that would be used and what to expect. She quickly learned that these drugs were filled with potent doses of toxic chemicals that would be entering her ten-year old’s body to help him fight cancer, and she knew she had to make the rest of his environment as safe and nontoxic as possible in order to give him the best chance of recovery.
While researching, she learned that cleaning products are the most toxic product that we use every day – not only are they made with VOC’s, parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfates and other harsh chemicals, these ingredients aren’t required to be listed on the packaging so it’s difficult to know what you’re getting exposed to. Since people going through chemotherapy are very sensitive to smells, using vinegar or other standby-by cleaners weren’t an option; it would make Peyton nauseous. Just prior to Peyton’s cancer diagnosis, Jess had learned about essential oils and their incredible anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, so she knew she wanted to incorporate those into her own nontoxic cleaner. As a fourth grader, missing out on school while undergoing treatment, Jess turned this into a science project. Jess and Peyton would sit at the kitchen counter with various oils with powerful properties and experiment with formulas that smelled good to Peyton. After trial and error, Peyton created a formula that not only smelled good, but was uplifting for his mood. This formula became the basis of Peyton’s Potion as it’s known today.
Peyton’s childhood cancer journey was stressful and unpredictable – there were complications, infections, misdiagnoses, unexpected surgeries and changing of hospitals. His body went through more in a few years than most could imagine in a lifetime. As a parent, you do whatever you can to keep your child safe, healthy and happy, even in uncontrollable circumstances, which ultimately led to the creation of Peyton’s Potion. And after much encouragement from friends and family, we’re honored to offer Peyton’s Potion to the world as a safe, effective, uplifting and sustainable multipurpose cleaner.
Gold, proudly displayed in our logo, is the color of childhood cancer awareness. To show our support, Peyton’s Potion donates 5% of profits to CureSearch, an organization that has been instrumental in childhood cancer research. Also, in our logo is the Paper Crane, which is a symbol of hope and healing. In Japanese tradition paper cranes are given to those who are seriously ill in hope for recovery and early in Peyton’s treatment a generous stranger folded 1,000 tiny paper cranes for him. Our Paper Crane Project, which aims to provide hope to other children going through cancer, is now part of Peyton’s Potion’s mission.
Further, Peyton’s Potion is a vehicle for Peyton to use his experience overcoming childhood cancer to help other children going through the same thing. Peyton is a mentor to other children with cancer, speaking at schools and community events, sharing his story and raising awareness. His determination and strength are an inspiration to other children overcoming childhood cancer and to all of us as we are presented with challenges in our lives.
Read more about Peyton’s cancer experience below
Shortly after Peyton’s tenth birthday he was life-flighted to a Denver children’s hospital after a blood draw showed the likely diagnosis of Leukemia. It was confirmed the next day. Peyton was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In the shock and fear of such a diagnosis Peyton and his family were hopeful to hear that children’s leukemia has a 90% survival rate. That survival rate has come to be so high in the last couple of decades with the advances in childhood cancer research. As Peyton’s oncologist laid out the three-and-a-half-year treatment plan, she asked Peyton if he would allow a biopsy of his bone marrow for research. Learning that it would help other children in his same plight, Peyton gave his permission. And so from the start, research was a focus and highlight of Peyton’s treatment and healing.
The days following Peyton’s diagnosis were filled with more tests and procedures. His diagnosis was specified to be high risk ALL. A port was immediately placed in his upper chest wall and chemo began. But soon after the surgery, he developed a dangerous and deadly infection at the port sight. Not only would his body be undergoing cancer treatment, but he now had an intense and long course of antibiotics and a painful wound vac for healing the hole in his chest from the infection.
After 9 straight days of chemotherapy, all directly following the day of diagnosis, tests showed Peyton’s bone marrow was free of cancer cells. This was great news for Peyton and his family! The ensuing three and a half years of treatment would be to prevent a relapse. Thinking all seemed bright, another test revealed that Peyton did not just have ALL, he had a subset called Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL). This is a cancer exclusively found in infants and is fatal. The Leukemia Team of doctors overseeing Peyton’s care were shocked at this finding and contacted the world-wide Children’s Oncology Group to discern how to proceed. Peyton’s parents were given the option to enroll him in a study, but given so much of the unknown due to the lack of children Peyton’s age with this type of cancer, they left it to the oncology team to determine the next steps. They agreed to keepPeyton on the standard ALL treatment plan, but if relapse occurred, he would need radiation and a bone marrow transplant. Gratefully, it did not come to that and Peyton continued to progress.
February 15, 2019 marked a special day for Peyton as it ended his five years post-cancer treatment. This official end of his treatments and follow-up appointments, declared him to have no evidence of disease. Peyton is enjoying living a happy and healthy life as he starts his sophomore year of college and continues to support childhood cancer research through Peyton's Potion.