For the second year in a row, I'm testing myself against the Virgil Crest 50-Mile Ultra. It's an ultramarathon-distance trail running race that covers 50 miles with 10,000 feet of vertical gain. That's roughly the equivalent of running back-to-back marathons, off-road, while climbing to the top of the Empire State Building 8 times.
Why am I doing this again? Simple: to support the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
In January 2007 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 3 millions Americans (about 1% of the US population). For me, it was a life-changing diagnosis. After several years of growing sicker with worsening symptoms, I was switched to a lifelong gluten-free diet, currently the only treatment for celiac disease. The improvement in my health was nothing short of remarkable.
Unfortunately, many people with celiac disease and other gluten-related conditions (including gluten intolerance and wheat allergy) haven't had that same success story. They are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and as a result, they face a spectrum of serious potential health complications - malnutrition, fatigue, diarrhea, osteoporosis, heightened risk for certain cancers, and in extreme cases, even death.
That's why the NFCA is so important. The organization's work for the gluten-free community, including outreach to medical care providers and restaurants, raises awareness, increases rates of diagnosis, and ultimately improves - and saves - lives.
Please help me support this great organization and worthy cause. Maybe you're gluten-free. Maybe you know someone who is - a family member, friend, or coworker. Together, we can make a difference. Thank you!