CHATHAM, NJ - Caryn Krueger hardly knew any of the women who came to her place of business on Monday night, but it didn't take long for most of them to become fast friends with a common goal.
"We've got a lot of people coming just by word of mouth," Krueger said.
Mothers wishing to raise awareness on how the environment is contributing to children's health issues mobilized to organize the event at CSM Art & Frame in Chatham, which featured author Beth Lambert, who is raising funds for her "Documenting Hope" project.
Lambert's "Documenting Hope" project is about taking 14 children and using a pilot program to reverse chronic conditions. The plan is to document the progress toward recovery over 18 months.
Local moms such at Chatham's Kristen Cullen, along with Kathleen Smith of Morphmom.com helped spread the word of the gathering.
Lambert, who authored "A Compromised Generation," is on a mission to raise awareness of children's health issues connected to the environment.
"My book is about the epidemic and chronic illness of America's children," Lambert said. "I'm a children's health advocate. I'm trying to raise awareness on how the environment impacts children's health. Really everyone's health, but it's acutely affecting children. It has to do with nutrition, what they're eating, what they're drinking, what they're exposed to. What they're putting on their skin."
Lambert lists ADHD, asthma, allergies, eczema, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, mood disorders and two types of diabetes as some of the environment-related illnesses she talks about in her book.
"Chronic illnesses like ADHD and severe food allergies are not lifelong," Mary Toulouse, one of the event organizers, said. "A lot of these parents get diagnosis for their children and they're devastated. They don't know what to do or who to turn to."
Cullen attended one of the events in New York and wanted to bring it to the Chatham area and she contacted Krueger.
"I heard about the organization back in January, saw their video, read about it and read Beth's book and thought it was amazing," Cullen said. "I was the New Jersey connection. One of my sons has a sensory processing disorder."
Smith's morphmom.com site features videos of women from all over the country, telling their stories about what they're out to accomplish and celebrating what they've done. A video of Beth Lambert is featured on the site.