Over 1,500 Walkers Expected to Stroll the Long Branch Boardwalk

LONG BRANCH, N.J. - As any parent knows, life with children is a balancing act between worrying for their safety and setting them free to grow and meet new challenges. For parents of children who have food allergies that balancing act is even more pronounced. And that's one reason why journalist Janine Strafaci says she's honored to be the honorary chairperson of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Walk for Food Allergy: Moving Toward A Cure in Long Branch on Sept. 8, 2012. Strafaci's son has a shellfish allergy.

Strafaci is an Emmy Award winning television news anchor for News 12 New Jersey. She is a Jersey Girl who joined News 12 New Jersey 15 years ago during which she covered and anchored the major news stories that hit the Garden State. She also spent 10 of those years producing award-winning health reports and hosting a weekend health program called "12 To Your Health". Strafaci currently is the TV station's news anchor of the 2-5PM daily LIVE news casts.

As a journalist and a mother of three children, Strafaci knows firsthand the importance of the work at FAAN. She is honored to take part in educating others in her community about food allergies.

Every three minutes, a food-allergic reaction sends an American to the ER, while an emergency room visit for food-related anaphylaxis occurs every six minutes. Children living in urban centers, such as New Jersey, have a much higher prevalence of food allergies than those living in rural areas, according to a new study, which is the first to map children's food allergies by geographical location in the United States. In particular, kids in big cities are more than twice as likely to have peanut and shellfish allergies compared to rural communities. New Jersey is one of eight states with the highest overall prevalence of food allergies.

Dr. Anna Nowak-Wegrzyn, associate professor of Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, is Honorary Medical Chair for this event. Dr. Nowak-Wegrzyn is a clinician and researcher at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute. Her clinical research interests, funded in part by the National Institute of Health and the Food Allergy Initiative, include research on the following: egg and milk allergy, food-induced anaphylaxis treatment and risk factors, diagnostic issues in food allergy, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome and pollen-food allergy syndrome (oral allergy syndrome). Dr. Nowak-Wegrzyn supervises two clinics per week in pediatric allergy and teaches fellows and residents.

The Walk begins at 10:00 a.m. at the Great Lawn, north of Pier Village, with check-in at 9:00 a.m. Following the Walk, New Jersey rocker Ray Andersen, who has played with Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Matchbox 20, and Meat Loaf, and who is now known to thousands of kids as the children's singer/songwriter mr. RAY, will be headlining a free concert following the Walk. The Academy of Music and Drama's student band, the Purple Keys will also be performing a set of music. This Fair Haven school, celebrating its ten year anniversary this year, "is happy to participate for this terrific cause".

Post-walk activities also include appearances by Star Wars costumed characters and the Lakewood BlueClaws mascot, Buster. Kids will also enjoy a bounce house, face painting, tattoos, hair accessories, arts and crafts, and other exciting games and activities. NJ 101.5 will be present at the event.

Townsquare Media, Lester Glenn Auto, the Lakewood BlueClaws, American Bounce Factory, and Winks Hair and Lash Studio are sponsors for the FAAN Walk of Long Branch.

To register for the Long Branch Walk, visit http://www.foodallergywalk.org/longbranch_nj12