FAACT National Spokesperson
Jo Frost to help raise awareness of life-threatening food allergies that affect more than 15-32 million Americans, including 6 million children
Global parenting expert, bestselling author, and television personality Jo Frost has been in our living rooms for more than 15 years on television shows including “Supernanny,” “Family Matters,” “Family S.O.S.,” “Extreme Parental Guidance,” and her newest show, “Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour.” Her six books on parenting – the most recent of which is Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules – have become go-to guides for childrearing, and her no-nonsense approach has helped millions of families across the world bring harmony back to their lives.
Jo has always had a natural gift for connecting with kids on their own levels and connecting with parents and children organically. With more than 20 years of childcare experience, beginning as an actual nanny, she has honed her successful methods of childrearing with hands-on, real-life experience.
She also knows first-hand the life-threatening nature of food allergies: Jo is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. Now she is now bringing her childhood development experience and international celebrity to help children with food allergies.
“We are honored and grateful to have Jo Frost join the FAACT family as our National Spokesperson and advocate for all individuals with life-threatening food allergies and anaphylaxis,” says FAACT President and CEO Eleanor Garrow-Holding. “Jo’s voice will be instrumental in educating children, adolescents, and adults about food allergies. We are excited to have Jo be a part of our programs and to work with her for many years to come!”
“As an advocate for those who live with life threatening allergies, it is an honor to be an ambassador for a leading charity such as the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT). They do fantastic work on behalf of anaphylaxis, and together we will build awareness for those with food allergies in the way of advocacy and education. Together we will continue to make advances in the issues affecting those of us with life threatening allergies. It takes dedication, commitment and more than a village to educate those that don’t live with this medical condition. Now we need to pull together as a community and bring awareness to those that are less informed giving those of us with anaphylaxis inclusion and equality.
I feel very passionate about this cause, educating people on the issues of health and safety surrounding anaphylaxis, which includes food labeling, knowing proper actions to take, airline travel, schools and public venues having correct training and diagnosis. All of this is of vital importance that could save lives and would not create an imposition to the general population. Simple changes can make a huge impact to children and adults living with anaphylaxis on a daily basis. It is my goal to see America continue to stand alongside other countries on this health condition.”
In addition to numerous awards in the United Kingdom, Jo was nominated for a People’s Choice Award and in 2006 received an International Emmy Award nomination. You can read more about Jo’s new television show, speaking engagements, and more on her Web site: www.JoFrost.com. And stay tuned here for the FAACTs on Jo’s work with the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team.
FAACT Celebrity Spokesperson
August Maturo to help raise awareness of life-threatening food allergies and the importance of having an action plan
August will be attending FAACT's Teen Retreat in October. In his spare time, he loves art, math, science, and spending time with his younger brother Ocean. August currently lives in the LA area with his mom, dad, and younger brother Ocean.
FAACT Celebrity Spokesperson
Actor Frank Dicopoulos knows first-hand about the seriousness of food allergies and the challenges of managing them on a daily basis. Best known for his 22 years on the long-running daytime drama The Guiding Light, Frank is allergic to shrimp. So are his wife and daughter.
“I had my first food allergy [reaction] on a date when I first met my wife,” Frank says, describing the symptoms that occurred after he ate some shrimp. “Years later, my wife and daughter had the same reaction to shrimp! It's terrifying watching a loved one going through [a] reaction.”
Now the entire Dicopoulos family engages in safe food allergy practices, avoiding their allergens and carrying their medications with them wherever they go. Given his personal experience, Frank can relate to the anxiety shared by the millions of Americans affected by food allergies. “I honestly believe that educating and bringing awareness to the public of this epidemic is a strong start,” he says.
As a spokesperson for FAACT, Frank will be a featured speaker at FAACT events, as well as our education and outreach activities. He firmly believes that his visibility as an actor provides him with an opportunity to get the message out about this potentially life-threatening medical condition because “this is a cause that has hit very close to home.”
Kendall Renee is a Singer/Songwriter/Recording Artist from Southern California. Kendall knows about food allergies all too well. She is anaphylactic to 95 percent of all foods and must use a feeding tube in her stomach to receive nutrition. She is also severely allergic to airborne particles of all nuts. Kendall carries auto-injectable epinephrine with her at all times – and has used it to save her life eight times to date.
None of this has stopped Kendall from pursuing her dreams and career. Kendall released her first album “Original” in 2016, dedicating its message to individuals with different disabilities. Alongside her career as a songwriter and artist, Kendall travels around sharing her songs and story in the hopes of inspiring others going through their own medical struggles. She believes that disabilities can be turned into “superpowers” as she likes to call them, and can be used to do great things in this world. Aside from her music career, Kendall was also a highly competitive US Figure Skater for 13 years. She is currently working on a project to showcase the stories of different individuals with disabilities. Kendall has partnered with Aerie by American Eagle Outfitters as a changemaker to create a music video showcasing the stories of individuals with special needs. The song and video will focus on bringing hope and inspiration to others worldwide!
Kendall is a very active food allergy awareness advocate, working to educate the public about food allergies. She has been a fierce voice within the food allergy community for many years. Kendall has shared her story in the media on several occasions as an advocate including: Good Morning America, The Young Icons, ABC7, KTLA, Ability Magazine, The Press-Telegram, Allergic-Living Magazine, Aerie, Coastal Canine Magazine, National Geographic Channel, Long Beach Local News, The Balancing Act, and more.
As FAACT’s Ambassador, Kendall presents and is a teen leader at FAACT’s Teen Retreat and helps develop FAACT’s teen-focused educational programs. She has also been a camp counselor at Camp TAG, California.
“I believe that food allergies should never get in the way of living your life to the fullest and accomplishing your dreams,” Kendall says. Her motto is “It’s okay to be different, there is nothing wrong with Original”.
Zac Chelini is a national spokesperson for FAACT. He is known to be a curious mind and is on track to be a life-long learner. Zac grew up with a severe allergy to peanuts after being diagnosed when he was 5 years old. At the time, the education, advocacy, and policy in place to provide a safe and respectful learning environment was decentralized and before social media. Therefore, his family and family friends have pioneered some of the regulations that have now become Nevada state law to advocate and protect students with food allergies. He began his advocacy journey in a local support group known as AAPE in his hometown of Reno, NV. This is where he learned of and cultivated his voice to share his story. Over the next decade, Zac began speaking more frequently where he has spoken on the national stage to advocate for food allergy education. He speaks at FAACT’s national events, such as our Leadership Summit and Teen Retreat where he leads the teen sessions throughout the weekend. Zac is also a national spokesperson for Kaleo’s “No Appetite for Bullying” campaign aimed at raising awareness and rising up against bullying in the food allergy community.
He currently lives in Reno, NV and is attending the University of Nevada, Reno receiving his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in May 2018. He holds a degree in Engineering Management (’16) from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA where he was actively involved on campus as an Outdoor Adventure Guide, special recreation volunteer, and campus Ambassador. Zac studied abroad in Zambia, Africa where he prepared, managed and successfully travelled with a food allergy in developing nations.
For more information, please visit Zac’s website at http://www.zacharychelini.com, where he blogs about his experiences, both personally and professionally.
FAACT Celebrity Spokesperson
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, Hay House author and Best Ever You Network CEO, lives her daily life with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. In 1998, Elizabeth nearly lost her life due to an allergic reaction to almonds. In 1999, she had a second near-fatal allergic reaction while pregnant with her third son, after which she was hospitalized for more than a week.
Elizabeth turned these challenges into a mission to help people living with allergies thrive and be their very best. She founded the Best Ever You Network, which is a leading multimedia provider of lifestyle and self-help content. With Brian Hom, she co-founded the Food Allergy Zone to find a cure and the cause of food allergies. Elizabeth hosts “The Best Ever You Show” on BlogTalkRadio, which has over one million global listeners.
Now she adds “author” to her resume. In Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through (April 2014), Elizabeth empowers readers to implement powerful, positive change to thrive in every aspect of your life.
Elizabeth has a degree in communications and broadcasting and also works as a life coach. She lives with her husband and four boys in Maine. Visit BestEverYou.com for more information about Elizabeth’s work and passions.
FAACT Celebrity Spokesperson
Singer-songwriter Luke Pilgrim is a prime example of a public figure affected by food allergies, and he has not let the challenges related to this medical condition stop him from accomplishing his dreams.
Luke was 17 months old when he was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Awareness has saved Luke’s life on more than one occasion, and he continues to spread the word on the importance of food allergy awareness, education, and research. He also hopes that through his music, he can inspire and educate people who are affected by food allergies as well as the general public.
Luke has become one of the most watched young artists to emerge out of Georgia in years. Building a reputation as a singer, songwriter, producer, painter, and film maker, Luke has become what many describe as the “full package.” His love of music began at an early age while growing up in Cleveland, a small town in north Georgia. He began sitting in with bands at clubs as an 11-year-old kid, leaving older musicians in awe as he ripped out lead guitar riffs from music greats Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton. By the age of 15, he had completed writing, recording, and producing his first full-length album with the band Last November. Last November, with Pilgrim as front man, toured the United States for the better part of a decade.
In 2011, Luke returned to the legendary Southern Tracks Studios in Atlanta to record his first solo album, working with lifelong friend and mentor Rodney Mills (whose musical resume includes Lynyrd Skynyrd, 38 Special, and ARS). The song ”Sweet Tea” from those sessions received play on hundreds of stations nationwide, reaching the Top 40 on Nashville’s Music Row Chart.
In 2012, Luke took time off from touring and re-enrolled in film school – a passion that has been obvious in the many music videos he has directed and edited. While finishing film school in 2013, he released a new single and video entitled “Goin’ Home.” Pilgrim shared these thoughts about the song: ”I wrote this song when my grandmother passed away, so it’s very close to my heart. I’d like to dedicate this release to her memory, but it’s also for you guys. For anyone out there who has lost someone they love. It’s about moving past that hollow, empty pain inside and filling it with the love and joyful memories of our loved ones. This is a tribute to everyone who has made the journey back home before us.”
With songs spinning nationwide on hundreds of radio stations and music videos streaming in more than 5,000 outlets, Luke Pilgrim has proven that although he is affected by potentially life-threatening food allergies, he can manage them and inspire all people affected by food allergies nationwide and abroad.