In honor of her late son, Georgina Cipriano of Lawrence, is hosting a free, allergy-friendly Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Cipriano's son, Giovanni, a freshman at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School in Hicksville, suffered a severe allergic reaction at home after eating trail mix that he didn't know contained peanuts, which he was allergic to. On Oct. 18, 2013, Giovanni died after his heart stopped en route to the hospital and was on life support for weeks.
Cipriano is now dedicating her life to help raise food allergy awareness. “We want to help educate and advocate for all families living with food allergies,” she said. “We want everyone to know that food allergies are serious.”
She launched a few support groups to help children and parents with food allergies. The Love For Giovanni Foundation on Facebook was dedicated to Giovanni from the first day he entered the hospital and has remained open in his memory. “I use it as an allergy support group and to post other things pertaining to brain injury, healthy living, medical advice and more,” she said. The Foundation aims to raise awareness of the seriousness of food allergies and to provide education regarding proper use of epinephrine. Cipriano also recently launched Friends Helping Friends, a food allergy support group with 461 members so far.
On Oct. 31, the Trunk-or-Treat event will be held at Bethpage Community Park (Cherry Avenue, off of Stewart Avenue) from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The free, nonfood event is open to all kids, not just kids with food allergies, and is hosted by Friends Helping Friends Food Allergy Support Group, Heather Beck Alberti and Kristi Gatto. There will be trunk-or-treating (bring your own nonfood treats, which can be found at Target, Walmart, Oriental Trading, etc.), a contest for best car decoration, best costume contest and several kid-friendly activities such as a mummy-wrapping and balloon-popping contest.
“It's the first event through our support group and I'm so happy to be able to put this together in Giovanni's memory and to help other kids,” said Cipriano. “It was always one of his favorite holidays and to know it's helping food-allergy kids have a safe and fun day just makes it so special.”