by Pamela Brown
Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from food allergy, a potentially life-threatening medical condition, and five Chappaqua families have embarked on a mission to educate and enlighten the public. “People might not realize having a food allergy means someone can die if they eat one of the allergens and aren’t treated in time,” said Stacey Saiontz, whose son, Jared, 3, suffers from food allergies to dairy, egg, wheat, and several other foods. “Fortunately, few people ever witness the severity of a food allergic reaction and often we don’t know how any given person will react to foods they’re allergic to. The result is few people understand how much is at stake for the kids who are food allergic. My hope is one day Jared won’t have to worry about what he puts in his mouth and can eat and touch anything he wants,” said Saiontz.
To shed light on food allergy, Saointz and the Stein, Brown, Singer, and Paley families created Chappakids4acure, and on October 2nd participated in Westchester’s first “Walk to Find a Cure for Food Allergies” sponsored by The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). “We wanted to come together to make a difference and raise awareness. It was amazing! 200 friends and family members from Chappaqua came out to support Jared, Ryder Stein, Spencer Brown, Zach Paley, and Jordana and Kayla Singer. It was such a special team because it was all our food allergic children’s friends who support them on a day-to-day basis,” said Saiontz. Chappakids4acure had the largest team, raising $24,000 for FAAN, a non-profit organization that raises public awareness through education, advocacy, and research. “It was a great opportunity for us to join together for a special day for our kids and raise much-needed funds to find a cure for these life-threatening allergies.”
As a result, three Chappaqua elementary schools and parents of food allergic children have formed a food allergy support group. “From the principal and working it’s way down, everyone is aware of our son Ryder and his needs and is beyond committed to assuring his safety while at school,” said Julie Stein. “Children are our future and their sense of togetherness, tolerance for difference, protecting each other–that’s something we all should learn from.”
Stein stresses the need for continued awareness. “The numbers of children affected is on the rise. That’s why opportunities for fundraisers are crucial as we work toward a cure,” she said Stein. “These children have been dealt a challenging hand and our job as a community is to support, nourish, and keep them safe.”
For more information on Food
Allergy, visit FAAN at