News

Actions

Local girl helps others who have food allergies

Posted: 1:22 PM, Sep 22, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-22 18:22:01Z

Autumn can be a tough season for kids with food allergies as they worry about exposure going back to school and from candy during Halloween.

Sofia Valdez,12, is helping other children in Kansas City cope with food allergies.

“Other kids need to know that they are not the only ones out there with food allergies,” Valdez said.

She hopes to educate people about food allergies and the growing number of people  who suffer from them – an estimated 15 million Americans

Walk For Awareness

As this year’s Food Allergy Youth Ambassador, Valdez will hand out information about the potentially life-threatening disease at Kansas City’s FARE Walk on Oct. 24, at Theis Park near the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 

“The FARE Walk is important because it is a chance for allergy kids and their families to meet others like them,” Valdez said. “It is an opportunity for allergy families to find safe brands for their child and to get an EpiPen or Auvi-Q for life threatening allergies.”

The family-friendly event is free and meant to raise awareness and money to try to promote safer environments for those with food allergy and to search for a cure.

“I want to make a difference in this community so that people can better understand life threatening food allergies and how to treat and handle them,” Valdez said.

Teal pumpkins

Trick or treating can be dangerous for children with food allergies, so people are encouraged to put teal pumpkins in front of their house if they hand out non-food treats on Halloween. 

“I always went trick or treating with my friends and came home with only about five candies. The ones I couldn’t have, I gave away,” Valdez said.

Friendly Halloween 

Valdez and her mom created a new event this year called the Food Allergy Friendly Halloween Festival for children to enjoy safe trick or treating, dancing, face painting and a magician.

“I am doing this to make sure fellow allergy kids can still be a part of a tradition,” Valdez said about the Halloween Festival. “Feeling lonely, knowing you are the only kid with food allergies in your class, grade or school, is really something that a child shouldn’t go through.”

The free festival will be held Saturday Oct. 17 from 3:30 – 5pm at Crescendo Conservatory near Van Maur in Overland Park.

Food desensitization

As 41 Action News first reported last year , Valdez is among the first in the Kansas City area to become desensitized to her peanut allergy through oral immunotherapy (OIT). 

She’s among 11 local patients who have now become desensitized to peanut allergies at Kansas City Allergy & Asthma  which is expanding its OIT program to include other foods. 

----------

Patrick Fazio can be reached at patrick.fazio@kshb.com .

Follow him on Twitter

Connect on Facebook