Six-year-old Eric Brown’s mom dreads holidays that revolve around food. Eric has severe colitis and eosinophilic esophagitis, and the only two foods he can eat are applesauce and sweet potatoes.

“We just had a big family dinner for two birthdays. Everyone was sitting around eating, and Eric was sitting in the hallway, just looking,” said mom Ellen Lepping, of Tuckahoe, Upper Township.

His conditions are auto-immune, inflammatory disorders that cause the body to overreact to food by launching an attack with white blood cells.

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Eric depends on an expensive formula to survive, she said. The self-employed family’s insurance policy, which costs about $18,000 per year, recently stopped covering it. They have lost three appeals, and the cost is $15,000 per year, she said.

There are also copays for his many medications, and medical and hospital visits.

So the family has tried an online site for fundraising, at The Upper Township school district recently held a dress-down day and raised more than $800 for the family, Lepping said.

Eric is an active and social boy who loves school, which he attends part-time, Lepping said. His dad, Bill Brown, owns Modular Builders, of Tuckahoe, which has been greatly affected by the recession and slowdown in the construction industry, Lepping said. Eric has two sisters, Courtney Lepping, 18; and Kimberly Brown, 13.

The online campaign runs through Nov. 29. To help, click here or send a donation to Lepping at P.O. Box 168, Tuckahoe, NJ, 08250.

Luncheon speaker

Margate’s Laura Dulac, founder and president of Our Children Making Change, will be the featured speaker at the American Association of University Women’s scholarship luncheon at noon Nov. 10 at the Atlantic City Country Club on Shore Road in Northfield.

The nonprofit Our Children Making Change brings children together to each raise at least $100 during the summer, then pool their money to make substantial donations to charities chosen by the children. Hundreds of children have participated in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, raising more than $100,000 in four years. Tickets are $40. Call 641-1986 or 398-6367.

Fundraiser for veterans

Sydnie Pennington, 16, a junior at Egg Harbor Township High School, is raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project, after meeting a double amputee veteran on a train trip to Washington, D.C.

Veteran and Atlantic County Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, will host the country-themed barbecue fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m. Nov. 11 at Mays Landing Country Club. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for kids. Call 609-561-9000 ext. 4159.


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