JACKSONVILLE (ActionNewsJax.com) -- A birthday without cake. Thanksgiving without turkey. That is 14-year-old Cris Serrano's reality. He can't eat.
"Going out and getting a pizza and eating it all--like, I can't do that anymore," says Cris.
Essentially, Cris is allergic to food. When he eats, he explains his reaction like this: "My esophagus slowly starts to close and close and close."
If Chris eats normally, like you or I would, he suffers symptoms like an allergic reaction. It's actually a rare autoimmune condition called eosinophilic esophagitis. It makes white blood cells attack his upper gastrointestinal tract.
"They get confused, they think food is a parasite," explains mom Jodi. "So they attack the food as it's passing through."
Cris was diagnosed in 2011 after his mom noticed he was having a lot of stomach trouble.
While getting an answer to her son's ailment was a relief--Jodi admits, getting the diagnosis was tough on the family.
"I grabbed everything in the house that he could not eat--took it out in the backyard and set it all on fire."