Cropper Helps Make FAAN Walk Huge Success

The numbers are sobering. 1 in 25 americans has a food allergy. That’s more than 12 million people. A number double what it was a decade ago. 200 people die annually from food allergies. The impact that food allergies have on families is far-reaching and life-altering.  Those families came together Sunday in a huge way at Hartwood Acres. 

 

 

460 people turned out for the first-ever Pittsburgh FAAN Walk, and they raised over 40 thousand dollars. That ties Philadelphia, but we had 200 more walkers. FAAN stands for Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, and a representative from the national organization was impressed with the turnout and the organization. 

 

WTAE meteorologist, Stephen Cropper was the Honorary Chairperson,(I am such an idiot, I forgot to take his picture–but he gave me his cookies) and I was his co-chair. Stephen has a peanut allergy, and, on several occasions, has had attacks at work, when he has eaten something at the station that has hidden peanut ingredients. Peanut reactions are responsible for the largest number of food allergy deaths. 

That young man covering his eyes is Andy Winzen. He is only three years old, and has an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. The little girl is his sister, Jeanne. Andy’s parents, Uwe on the left, and Addie, on the right, chaired the event, and worked tirelessly to pull it together, along with a supporting cast of devoted parents. These families are so brave, and the kids are remarkable, learning to be responsible at such an early age. If they don’t, it can cost them their lives. It was hot and muggy, but almost everyone took part in the mile and a half walk . 

Next year can only be better, after such an auspicious beginning. For more information about the walk, go to http://www.foodallergy.org.

But FAAN wasn’t the only walk Sunday. In the morning, I was over at North Park, where 1700 folks walked in the battle against ovarian cancer. Yvonne Zanos, who was diagnosed with stage 3 just last December, led them all,  looking fabulous, and connecting with so many survivors, and families walking in memory, or in honor, of loved ones. It never ceases to amaze me how people in this area turn their lives upside down to help a cause, and better our community.

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