I have long supported walks and runs for charitable causes. In fact, before I became CEO of Celiac Disease Foundation, my son Henry and I participated in both the Los Angeles and Pasadena Marathon 5K Run/Walks to raise funds for Team Gluten-Free. I walked, Henry ran.

This is probably why I was so moved when I read the stories of our volunteers who are running the New York City Marathon on November 1, 2015 on behalf of Team Gluten-Free. Two of the runners, Leah Ofsevit and Peggy Weiss, have celiac disease. Each thoughtfully explains on her personal fundraising page the sense of devastation she felt when initially diagnosed with the disease. With the help of the information and the community they found at CDF, today each is a vibrant, successful woman committed to giving back. I admire their courage, their perseverance, and their passion.  I am grateful that they chose CDF as their charity.

The other four runners, Brian Simeon and his wife Heather, Joshua Tennison, and Jose Sanchez-Seara, are running in the marathon because each have children diagnosed with celiac disease. As the mother of a child with celiac disease, I know that I would do anything…even run a marathon… if I thought it would help my child, as well as all of the other children out there with the disease, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. As I write this, I still want to know the long-term implications of the disease for my child. I want to know about possible co-morbidities with other diseases. I want to know why it took so many visits to pediatricians and other doctors to get the correct diagnosis to stop my child’s suffering. I want to know why there is no alternative to the gluten-free diet. I want to know why there is no cure.

So do these parents. That is why they are running in support of TGF.

I urge you to visit their TGF pages and pledge to support one or all of their efforts.  And if you are in the New York City area that weekend, please go to the course with your signs and your enthusiasm and cheer on our members who are running all those miles to help the celiac disease community. Again, I couldn’t be more grateful to this extraordinary group of Team Gluten-Free members.

To learn more about running in a marathon, participating in a run/walk, or hosting your own event to help advance the fight against celiac disease, please visit our TGF homepage. You too can take us one step closer to a world without celiac disease.

To Our Health,

marilyn signature

Marilyn G. Geller

Chief Executive Officer