Soap Star and News 4 Reporter Help FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in Long Branch, NJ

Long Branch, NJ, June 18, 2009 --( Local Celebrities and Senator Come Together to Support the FAAN Walk for Food Allergy SEPT. 12.

Over 1,000 Walkers Expected to Stroll the Long Branch Boardwalk.

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, especially two Monmouth County dads, that balancing act is even more pronounced. And that’s one reason why News 4 New York reporter Brian Thompson says he’s honored to be the emcee of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Walk for Food Allergy: Moving Toward A Cure in Long Branch on Sept. 12, 2009.

Thompson credits the increasing awareness of food allergies to efforts such as the FAAN Walks, and says it enables him to better concentrate on being a father. “As a parent, I can live as close to a normal life as possible when it comes to what my daughter eats, and it leaves me to pay attention to her future dating and driving, not her tree nut allergy. It’s a huge relief to me as a father,” said the New Jersey reporter, who has been a New York NBC affiliate since 1998.

Thompson’s daughter, Nikki, 14, “is a mature young woman who is understanding of her allergy and is very careful about it.” Still, her tree nut allergy worries her, Thompson says, due to reactions that are fresh in her mind. She always carries her epinephrine auto-injector, and she knows not to eat something if the ingredients can’t be verified.

Nikki Thompson is one of more than 60,000 New Jersey school children who have food allergies, which have no known cure. An estimated 150 people die every year from fatal reactions nationwide, and another estimated 50,000 people seek treatment in emergency rooms for food-induced anaphylaxis. Nikki’s mother, Lori Stokes, anchor for WABC News, also suffers from food allergies.

Frank Dicopoulos, another Monmouth County dad and star of television’s longest-running soap opera, “Guiding Light,” on CBS for 22 years, is the honorary chairperson for this year’s event. “Educating the public and our own children about food allergy safety is key, and gives us peace of mind when they are away from us,” said Dicopoulos, who is also the host of a local cable show, Channel 77’s hit “Our Town.” Both Dicopoulos and his teenage daughter have food allergies. “I am proud to be involved again this year,” said Dicopoulos, who was the emcee for last year’s inaugural Walk. That Walk was attended by approximately 1,000 people, raised over $150,000 dollars, and was awarded the title “Best new Walk of 2008” by FAAN. It was the single most successful Walk in the history of FAAN’s inaugural Walks.

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, 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. mr. RAY’s bookings manager’s son, the daughter of a band member, as well as two children who sing with the mr. RAY band, have food allergies.

Magician Bruce Bray will also perform, and there will be appearances from costumed Star Wars characters from the 501st and Rebel Legions.

Returning from last year’s Walk is Sen. Sean Kean to speak about the New Jersey legislation surrounding food allergies in schools.

The Walk for Food Allergy raises awareness and funds for food allergy education and research. The Walks are held nationwide to support FAAN, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about food allergy to the media, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials, as well as the food allergy community.

Millennium Radio (94.3 the Point and NJ 101.5) and Greater Media Newspapers are media sponsors for the walk. Lester Glenn Auto Group and Dean’s Natural Food Market are returning as corporate sponsors.

To register for the Long Branch Walk, visit, or e‐mail

Photos from last year’s Walk are available. Please contact Cherí Golub.

About FAAN
Founded in 1991, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in information about food allergy, a potentially fatal condition that afflicts approximately 12 million Americans, or one out of every 25, and is rapidly increasing in prevalence. A nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Va., FAAN has 30,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and 62 other countries. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, to educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it. FAAN provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. For more information, please visit FAAN at,, and

Contact: Cherí Golub, (732) 239-8374 or

FAAN Walk for Food Allergy - Long Branch, NJ
Cheri Golub