On Saturday, fourth grader Caitlin Fury of Valley Cottage is joining people from around the Hudson Valley area, who are walking around Glen Island Park in New Rochelle to raise funds to increase awareness of food allergies.
"We live in Valley Cottage and my daughter Caitlin Furey—who is allergic to peanuts, some tree nuts, soy, chick peas and lentils—is a fourth grader at Liberty Elementary School and has been named the Honorary Youth Chair for the Walk for Food Allergy in Westchester this year," said Cara Bonomolo, Furey's mother.
"I'll be with other people just like me who have food allergies," said Furey, adding that by participating in the walk she hopes "to provide information to people about food allergies and help work to find a cure."
Her parents are "especially excited for Caitlin's participation in this event as the Honorary Youth Chair. Caitlin wanted to participate in this walk to be with other people like her who have food allergies. As the Honorary Youth Chair she hopes to help raise money "for a cure" and raise food allergy awareness. We encourage you to support Caitlin, our family and this event by joining our team and walking with us on October 13 and/or by making a donation."
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.
"Our daughter Caitlin is one of 15 million Americans, including nearly 6 million children, with a potentially life-threatening food allergy," said Bonomolo. Caitlin has been living with a her severe peanut and treenut allergy since she was two years old and this summer she was diagnosed with new allergies to soy and other legumes.
"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.
Registration is open to individuals, families and community groups. For more information, go to www.foodallergy.org.