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Upton’s Brett Nasuti Given JFK Making a Difference Award

Caption: Brett Nasuti accepts his Making a Difference Award and shakes hands with Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray.

Upton's Brett Nasuti has a lot to be proud of these days. The 12-year old food allergy sufferer was the first person in the country to take part in a trial at Boston Children's Hospital which eventually allowed him to drink milk for the first time without any adverse effects. On top of that great feat, for the past several years, he's been educating his classmates at Miscoe Hill School on food allergy awareness, and most recently, he received the JKF Making a Difference Award.

At age one, Brett was diagnosed with 15 food allergies, which he eventually outgrew with the exception of milk, peanuts, and eggs. However, the milk allergy seemed to be the most difficult to deal with. His milk allergy was so severe that if someone kissed him on the cheek, who had coffee containing milk, he would have a severe reaction. Simple pleasures such as vacations and birthday parties became a challenge.

However, all that began to change last summer with Brett's participation in a clinical trial during which he received painful injections of Xolaire® in his leg every two weeks over a period of four months. Xolaire is used to treat allergy-related asthma but is being investigated as a treatment for food allergies. In September 2009, Brett was able to drink eight ounces of milk and to this day remains free of milk allergies.

If that weren't enough of a challenge, Brett was determined to do even more. Knowing that a number of his classmates also suffer from various food allergies, for the last five years, Brett has been organizing different events at school to help educate other students on food allergies, as well as raise funds for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and Asthma and Allergy Foundation of New England (AAFA) during Allergy Awareness Week.

This year's National Food Allergy Awareness week runs from May 9-15. One of the fundraising events Brett is organizing at school will allow students to donate $1 to wear a hat to school to benefit FAAN. Brett is also planning to decorate the school display case with educational literature and create a PowerPoint presentation. Brett's sister, Taylor, in also getting into the fundraising spirit and is hoping to organize a fundraiser at Papa Gino's in Milford on May 12 from 4 to 9 p.m. during which 20 percent of all proceeds will go to AAFA. In addition, the Nasuti's are hoping to conduct a read-a-thon at younger brother Nicholas' preschool. Nicholas also suffers from food allergies.

For all of his incredible efforts, on March 24, Brett was given the JKF Making a Difference Award at the Kennedy Library which recognizes middle school students from across Massachusetts for differences they have made in their communities through service projects. Miscoe Hill Principal Roseanne Kurposka nominated him for the honor.

"It was really nice," said a modest Brett of receiving the award.

Brett's mom, Robyn, stated how proud she is of Brett and added that he, as well as Taylor's efforts, have taught them the meaning of giving back. "It's really important for kids to learn about giving to others at a young age," said Robyn.


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