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Walk Saturday to Fund Food Allergy Awareness

This is the third annual Walk for Food Allergy in Westchester County.

 

On Saturday, Oct. 13, people from around the area will be walking around Glen Island Park in New Rochelle to raise funds to increase awareness of food allergies.

The third annual Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Walk for Food Allergy in Westchester is one of 45 walks scheduled in 2012.

Registration, activities and giveaways will begin at 9 a.m.; the walk, at 10 a.m.

Last year, the Westchester walk raised over $200,000, becoming the No. 1 walk in the United States.

That amount of money is the goal this year, according to co-chairwoman Bonnie Weinbach.

She said as of Monday a little over $145,000 has been raised.

Weinbach's team—called Allergy Wars: Larchmont Strikes Back—has raised almost $11,000 as of Monday.

The Larchmont resident said people all too often underplay the severity of food allergies.

"Everywhere we go—schools, camps—there is food," Weinbach said. "What are the ingredients? Is it safe for them?"

Her children have food allergies, so she doesn't go anywhere without being armed with EpiPens, the device that auto-injects epinephrine that combats anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death.

Approximately 15 million Americans, including nearly 6 million children, have a food allergy, which is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside of a hospital setting. It results in more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits per year among children.

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions in the U.S.: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds), wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

In New York, approximately 780,000 people have a food allergy, as do 176,000 children under the age of 18.

This year's Walk Youth Ambassador is Caitlin Furey, 8, of Valley Cottage. She is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, chick peas and lentils.

Also participating in the walk will be WABC-TV weatherman Lee Goldberg, who is the father of a food allergic child and is the honorary chairman of the walk, and Dr. Jennifer Kim, who is a clinician and clinical researcher in the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute and is the walk's honorary medical chairwoman.

Registration is open to individuals, families and community groups. For more information, go to www.foodallergy.org.

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