Walking to Save a Life!
On Saturday, October 1, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) held its Walk for Food Allergies Atlanta to raise funds for food allergy research, education, advocacy, and awareness.
As one of 46 walks held across the country this year, the Walk for Food Allergy Atlanta drew more than 500 walkers from across the city and raised more than $55,000!
An estimated 12 million Americans, including three million children, have a food allergy – that’s one in 25. Food allergies are a potentially life-threatening medical condition, and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) food allergies result in over 300,000 ambulatory-care visits and 150 to 200 deaths annually.
“It’s very, very hard knowing that your child could die from eating the wrong food. It’s something that is always at the back of my mind,” says Wendy Siegel, co-chair of the 2011 Atlanta Walk, whose 12-year old daughter Maddie has life-threatening food allergies to milk and peanuts.
Siegel points out that although having a food allergy can be ostracizing, it also means that you’re more conscience of what you eat and therefore can eat healthier. “Students and teachers are envious of the yummy (healthy) lunches Maddie takes to school every day and of the goodies she often has for dessert. I think, because of this, Maddie has never really felt left out. Still, it’s a struggle and I feel that I can never let my guard down.” Siegel says.
Before and after the Atlanta Walk, participants enjoyed live music while visiting with local allergists, vendors and support groups to answer questions about food allergies.