Up North: Aleia Project raises awareness for food allergies with 5k

Up North: Aleia Project raises awareness for food allergies with 5k

Up North: Aleia Project raises awareness for food allergies with 5k

Duluth is a city that’s well known for it’s running, with plenty of different runs and walks on any given weekend. However, but the Aleia Project had their one and only fundraiser this past weekend.

“Running is such a big part of our community and our lifestyle that choosing a run is probably the best way to bring awareness to the community and get people involved and bring people together,” said Tony Bye, a Duluth Resident who attended the run with his daughter, Autumn.

The Aleia Project is a non-profit that was formed to support the food allergy community, provide resources for them, and provide them with an alike community.

Last year, the Aleia Project ran their first ever 5k, but this year they were back with even more participants, and even more fun – which is important, because they don’t get to do this very often.

“This is our one fundraiser for the year,” shared Emily Homan, a co-founder of the Aleia Project. “So the sponsors that we get and all the registrants, that’s a huge thing for us so that we can offer our resources for free.”

As people gathered to run the 5k, whether they had food allergies or not, they were benefitting the community by just being there.

A common misconception is that people develop food allergies at a young age and they stay that way, but actually that’s not all that true.

“Food allergies can hit at any time so just being aware of your body and things that are changing in your body,” said Homan. “Food allergies don’t just happen to little kids. A lot of times people can be diagnosed in their 50s or 60s with a food allergy to a food that they’ve eaten their whole life, so just to be aware of the signs and the symptoms and ask questions.”

When it comes to some of the largest crowds of people affected by food, dairy, shellfish, and of course, peanuts and tree nuts come to mind.

“My daughter, Autumn, she has a peanut allergy and not a lot of people know that that is an airborne allergy,” said Bye. “So it’s very important that kids wash their hands and wash their face after they get done eating, because it can have severe consequences for us. People think about COVID-19 being bad. We live in a COVID-19 world every day with her allergies.”