LIVINGSTON, NJ — After raising nearly $60,000 and attracting more than 350 participants in 2017, eight local families that are affected by food allergies hope to surpass both of these numbers when they host the second annual Northern New Jersey Food Allergy Heroes Walk at the Livingston Memorial Oval on Sept. 23 to benefit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
“I started working on this event as a way to support my daughters, who both live with food allergies,” said Lauren Feldman, a Livingston mom who works year-round to make this walk a reality. “Somewhere along the way, it became not only a support system for them, but for me and other family members as well. It’s amazing to see our food allergy community come together.”
News 4 New York Reporter Brian Thompson, whose daughter has a tree nut allergy, will emcee the event as someone who understands the challenges parents and individuals living with food allergies face.
In addition to the Feldman Family (Lauren, Jamie, Madi and Emmy), the local “Families for FARE” that will join Thompson in hosting the event include the Klein Family (Julie, Gregg, Samantha and Sydney); the Manoff Family (Neely, Rob, Brooke, Reese and Shane); the Scheichet Family (Susan, Steven, Amanda, Ashley and Arielle); the Spector Family (Erica, Jeff, Dylan and Avery); and the Wilner Family (Heather, David, Jackson, Hanna and Grayson), all from Livingston; as well as the Lenner Family (Nicole, Marc, Ethan, Isaac, Jacqueline and Rebecca) and the Stulberger Family (Lisa, Adam, Rachel, Michael, David, and Rebecca) from Short Hills.
In a joint statement, the families stated that the $57,000 raised and the overwhelming turnout from last year inspired them to make Livingston’s walk an annual event.
“It was a great success and we felt it gave our food-allergic children a sense of pride,” they said. “This was also an opportunity for our children (age range 9-17 years old) to get more involved and take leadership roles to make a positive change in the community.”
All of the founding families have been involved in FARE for several years and have often traveled to New York City for the events. Bringing the event to Livingston was their way of getting their neighbors involved and introducing the community to the “great work the FARE has been doing.”
“Our children are thriving, healthy individuals who, just like your children, want to enjoy life without the fear of anaphylaxis,” they said. “We want our kids to travel, socialize, etc., without the constant worry about what they are eating. Food is such a huge part of our lives and the constant worry certainly takes an emotional toll.”
The families added that their goal is to inspire doctors and scientists to find a cure while also educating individuals, companies and others in the community about how they can help keep people with allergies safe. They also said they want to make sure that people new to food allergies know that the community is behind them.
“We also want to celebrate the local and national businesses that already take the time and effort to improve the quality of life for families living with food allergies,” they said.
The founding families also hope that this annual event will help enforce FARE’s mission of improving the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies, and providing them with hope through the promise of new treatments.
FARE is a lifeline for the 15 million Americans with food allergies. According to the organization, one in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy, many of which are life threatening. FARE not only educates the public on these issues, but it is also the largest source of funding for food allergy research.
Check-in and activities for the Northern New Jersey Food Allergy Heroes Walk begin at 9 a.m. at the Oval, and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. DJ Zap will entertain the crowd while vendors distribute allergy-friendly food and products throughout the event.
Click HERE to join the event or to make a donation.