Westport Women Raise Epidemic Awareness

Astonishingly, 52% of all American children are diagnosed with chronic illnesses.

That’s a broad definition — it includes allergies, ADHD, Asperger’s, irritable bowel and celiac disease, Lyme, hay fever and obesity — but it caught the attention of Jennifer Boyd and Julie Blitzer.

The women share the same initials, the same Westport hometown, and a desire to do something for that large population of kids with chronic diseases — and their parents.

They’re dissatisfied with most conventional treatment methods.

Julie Blitzer

They joined forces through Epidemic Answers, an organization that believes the rise in children with chronic diseases stems from “insidious environmental factors (beyond just ‘pollution’) that have been introduced slowly into our lives over the course of the past few decades.”

Epidemic Answers says these environmental influences destroy kids’ immune systems, affect their growth and development, and prevent them from living full lives.

The founder of the organization “recovered” her child from chronic illness. She now helps other mothers do the same for their kids.

Three years ago Julie — a therapeutic dance teacher — founded Authentic Matters. The group organizes classes, workshops and events for women who “seek to live with heightened awareness/ consciousness.”

Julie met Jennifer — a wellness practitioner — who says she “recovered” her 2 children from Lyme disease. Jennifer is now chair of Epidemic Awareness’ national board.

Another board member is Westporter Maria Rickert Hong. Jennifer says Maria “recovered” her child from sensory processing disorder.

Jennifer Boyd

“The first step is taking people down the rabbit hole of diagnosis,” Jennifer says.

“The next step is focusing on environment. There’s a saying: ‘Genetics loads the gun. Environment pulls the trigger.'”

She means the total environment — internal too. “It’s important to think about things like diet and gut flora,” she notes.

Next month (May 4, 7 p.m., Mora Mora in South Norwalk), Epidemic Answers sponsors a dance party. The goal is to raise awareness (and funds) for the organization’s film project, “Documenting Hope.” Jennifer is on the video’s advisory board.

Designing a dance party is important to the 2 women. Both are trained in dance therapy. (The event features “consciously curated appetizers and spirits” — along with a DJ.)

“There’s a gluten-free bread crumb trail to follow,” Jennifer says, referring to her belief that chronic illnesses need not last a lifetime.

“There’s hope to recover your child.”

(For more information on the “Dance for Hope” event, click here.)


3 responses to “Westport Women Raise Epidemic Awareness

  1. Ellen Lautenberg

    Jennifer and Julie – as Chair of the Board that supports a department at Mt Sinai hospital, The Children’s Environmental Health Center, I may have some other resources that may be useful to you. Please contact me at e.lautenberg@gmail.com if you would like to discuss.

  2. Great article!

  3. I know of other grassroots, mother initiated organizations that are effectively helping kids with various issues — SMART KIDS W/LD and F.A.R.E (making real headway with life threatening allergies) — come to mind.

    I think when the passion that parents bring to addressing the problems their children face is coupled with the efforts of hospital and university efforts, we have a real chance of moving forward with answers.