ALEIA Project: Northland 5K raises awareness for food allergies

ALEIA Project: Northland 5K raises awareness for food allergies
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 2:26 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2023 at 11:14 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Three Duluth moms came together in 2020 to form the ALEIA Project. A non-profit raising awareness for people living with food allergies in the Northland.

On Saturday they hit the ground running to host the first-ever Northland 5K for Food Allergy.

It all started three years ago for Emily Homan, Erica Hanson, and Rose Sterling.

“We actually met at an allergy walk that was put on through a bigger organization out on the coast,” said Rose Sterling, a co-founder of the ALEIA Project.

Combined, the three moms have 30-plus years of food allergy navigation experience, avoiding 10-plus foods between five of their eight children.

Despite their struggles, they noticed food allergy awareness organizations weren’t sending funds to their own hometown.

“There’s a lack of support in the community and we wanted to start something for the community to learn about food allergies, and for other people with food allergies to have support,” said Sterling.

Coming together, they created the ALEIA Project.

“Things are hard, especially with an 8-year-old,” said Sterling. “It gets hard with things in the classroom like birthday parties, big events, making sure the food is safe for them.”

And for the first time ever, they hit the ground running to host the Northland 5K for Food Allergy at Leif Erikson Park.

Drawing in a crowd of more than 100 runners.

“It has been a really fun day,” said Erica Hanson. “We’ve been planning for months and to see all these people out here is very rewarding.”

This year, their funds are going to the Hermantown School District to help develop a teacher’s toolkit binder full of information to help teachers and parents navigate food allergies. It will give instructions on simple actions that could save a life, like how to use an EpiPen.

“An EpiPen has Epinephrine in it. You take the blue cap off, blue to the sky orange to the thigh,” said Hanson. “You just push it in, and it would inject the needle into your thigh.”

They’re running for a cause close to their hearts.

Showing the community how to be ready in case their child might need your help.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you don’t know, please ask questions,” said Sterling.

The organizers say this will be an annual event.

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