Every day, I talk to people who, like me, live with celiac disease – either personally or as a caregiver for someone they love. Each of their stories, while unique, share common underlying themes: the incredible suffering they either endured or witnessed until finally someone suggested getting tested for celiac disease, the difficulties adhering to a strict gluten-free diet, especially away from home, and the worry about the long-term implications of the disease. I want each of you to know that CDF is absolutely committed to working on those three issues. We have launched an ambitious set of initiatives around public and healthcare provider education, patient advocacy, and research to advance the agenda that is important to us all.
The toughest part of my job as CEO of Celiac Disease Foundation is to balance the overwhelming and compelling needs of the celiac community against our resource capacity to reach our goals. I have spent a lot of time articulating our needs and our agenda to address those needs. It would be imprudent of me not to comment on our resources. Our operating budget has nearly doubled over the last three years. We have been in a position to increase our investment in research, advocacy, and public and physician education as a result, with significant accomplishments. Realistically, however, we need to reach millions more who suffer from symptoms, and hundreds of thousands of physicians who either stubbornly or ignorantly refuse to order a celiac disease panel blood test. We need to increase our presence in Washington, D.C. to reach key individuals who decide how billions of federal medical research dollars are spent. We need to continue to invest strategically in research to unlock treatment possibilities, and address the long-term implications of the disease. Truthfully, we need more resources to continue the hard-fought progress we have achieved thus far.
I know that you are committed to our common cause, and I trust that many of you give generously to support our efforts. If you can do more, please do so today. If that isn’t an option (or even if it is), please consider making a planned gift to CDF. The simplest way is to designate CDF as one of the beneficiaries of your will and/or retirement plan. That way, your support of CDF – your commitment to end this needless suffering – becomes part of your enduring legacy.
For more information on how you can make CDF a part of your estate planning, please contact me or our Development Officer, Deborah Ceizler, at 818-716-1513, x 103.
To Our Health,
Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive Officer