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Taking Steps Against Food Allergies

Families are working together to take a bite out of food allergies.

Christine Restaino, along with her family and friends, is participating in the FARE Walk for Food Allergy, an event that brings together thousands of Americans looking to raise money to find a cure for food allergies. Presented by Food Allergy Research & Education, walks occur throughout the year across the country, with the Long Island walk happening October 13 at Eisenhower Park.

The walk is a family-friendly event to fund food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness. Restaino’s own daughter, Kylie Rose, who will be 3-years-old this November, was diagnosed earlier this eyar with potentially life-threatening food allergies.  

Kylie Rose is allergic to tree nuts and crabmeat, but it was not until a brief encounter with a walnut did she show any symptoms.

“I gave Kylie a piece of a walnut, she didn’t like it, spit it out and made my dad wipe off her tongue with a napkin,” said her mom. “She went in her room to take a nap and about an hour and a half after eating the nut, she was coughing in her sleep. It went from a dry cough to a loose cough and by the time I got into her room her eyes were red and watery, her nose was runny and she was crying. She was telling me she couldn’t cough anymore and she was calling for mommy. I was the one holding her but she was so confused that she didn’t know it was me.”

Restaino said her daughter was suffering from Anaphylactic shock.

“Since her diagnosis, I live in constant fear that she will eat the wrong thing and I won’t be able to save her,” she said. “I live everyday with my stomach in knots and tears in my eyes just thinking about what could happen to her.”

In an effort to try to make a difference and give her daughter a chance to live without the burden of food allergies, Restaino is walking with her daughter and her husband, Kylie’s daddy, Mike, in FARE Walk for Food Allergy.

According to FARE, severe food allergy affects up to 15 million people in the country, including one in 13 children. The most severe type of reaction, anaphylaxis, which can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, trouble breathing, dizziness and possibly death.

FARE’s goal for the Long Island walk is $135,000 — as of press time, the organization has raised over $55,000.

“I have personally raised $1,125 for my daughter’s team, ‘Team Kylie Rose.’ That wouldn’t be possible without the amazing generosity of our family and friends,” said Restaino. “We are determined to let Kylie Rose live as normal a life as possible and not to be discriminated against because of her allergy. She is the happiest, smartest, funniest and cutest little girl you will ever meet.”

The walk at Eisenhower Park walk is about two miles long and takes place rain or shine on October 13. Registration is from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and the walk starts immediately after a ceremony at 1 p.m.

To contribute to Team Kylie Rose or to register to walk with the team. visit www.foodallergywalk.org/kylie_rose.