Food allergy activist to raise awareness at fundraiser in Greenwich
GREENWICH — Serious food allergies can be a nightmare for many parents, who must keep a constant eye on what their kids are eating, and for adults, who know that not everything on the menu is good for them.
That topic will be the focus as End Allergies Together gathers for its third annual fundraiser, which is appropriately dubbed An Evening to EAT. The fundraiser will take place on April 19 at L’Escale Restaurant inside the Delmar Hotel in downtown Greenwich, right by the water. Best-selling author and food allergy activist Robyn O’Brien will headline the event.
EAT is the only nonprofit organization that funds research only into food allergies, which the organization’s founders call “an epidemic.”
“Food allergies barely existed 40 years ago, yet today there are two kids in every classroom affected,” said Elise Bates, EAT’s co-founder and president. “Something has happened to ignite this epidemic in such a short period of time.”
O’Brien became driving force behind the cause after her daughter had a life-threatening reaction to eggs and yogurt.
“She asked a critical question,” Bates said of O’Brien. “Are we allergic to our food or what we’ve done to it? This simple question started a global dialogue about the quality of our food system, our children’s health and the food allergy spike. Through her leadership, courage and emphasis on collaboration, the food allergy community has a stronger and growing voice.”
O’Brien, who is a mother of four, will receive the Courage Award at the event. After her daughter suffered the allergic reaction, she founded the AllergyKids Foundation and MomVoices. She has also been a leading voice on issues such as the need for a smarter food system when it comes to allergies, cancer and other chronic diseases as well as the skyrocketing prices of EpiPens.
According to EAT, O’Brien has shown “steadfast dedication to advocating for a healthier food system and greater collaboration among those trying to protect the health of our families.” The award will be a part of an evening that includes cocktails, dinner and a live auction to benefit the work of EAT
O’Brien has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times and Bloomberg. She is considered one of the country’s foremost advocates for food and health care reform.
It’s an honor to come together with EAT and the families who are part of its “amazing mission,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“We have seen over and over again, what the food allergy community can do, from driving changes in the food industry to championing Congressional hearings regarding the price of EpiPens to bringing affordable, life-saving epinephrine devices to the market,” O’Brien said. “And while our individual voices are beautiful, it is our collective voices, joined together like a choir, that are so powerful.”
More than 17 million people in the United States have food allergies, and every three minutes, someone goes to an emergency room because of an allergic reaction to food, according to the Journal of Asthma and Allergy. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said one in 12 children are diagnosed with food allergies.
EAT was formed in 2015 and has committed more than $1.2 million to fund scientific research into food allergy treatments and cures. Money raised from the April 19 event will help further that research.
Tickets are on sale at https://www.501auctions.com/endallergiestogether, starting at $250 per person and $3,500 for a table.