In January 2007 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. CD is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine affecting an estimated 2-3 million Americans (about 1% of the US population). Undiagnosed and untreated, it's a serious condition whose symptoms may include intestinal scarring, chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, fatigue, and increased mortality, as well as greatly heightened risk for potentially fatal secondary complications, such as certain cancers. While there is no cure, CD is treatable with strict lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. (Gluten is a plant protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and foods made from those grains.) Sadly, most people with Celiac Disease don't know it - they are either undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. As a result, they live for years with failing health and a diminished quality of life.
I know first-hand how my life changed before and after going gluten-free. It pulled a complete 180. My health, and my quality of life, are better than they've ever been before. I went from a downward spiral of worsening symptoms pre-diagnosis, to competing in the 2009 Xterra US National Championship off-road triathlon. I want others with my condition to experience that same kind of redemption.
Awareness is the answer, and that's where the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness steps in. They work to improve awareness, knowledge and education surrounding CD and gluten-free issues, targeting doctors and the medical community, restaurants and food manufacturers, and the general public. As awareness increases, so will diagnoses. In that way, we can help millions of Americans who suffer from a disease with severe consequences, but which is treatable with nothing more than diet. Such a simple solution.
Please support me! At the end of September, I'm racing in the Virgil Crest Ultra, an ultra-distance endurance trail running event in New York, to raise awareness for Celiac Disease and gluten-free issues, and to fundraise for the NFCA. The race covers 50.1 miles, and climbs 10,000 vertical feet. That's the equivalent of basically running back-to-back marathons, and climbing to the top of the Empire State Building 8.5 times while you're at it!
My goal is to raise $5,010. That equates to $100 per mile. I hope you consider supporting me. Thanks!