Having a child diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease can be very scary. When Gabbi Saft was diagnosed with celiac disease, her parents, Warren and Amber, turned to the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) to begin researching the challenges that she would face. What they learned was that every time she had a school lunch, went on play dates or to birthday parties, or even out to eat with her family, she would be at great risk of becoming sick from ingestion of gluten. They also learned that despite their best efforts to help her adhere to a strict gluten-free diet, she was at a life-long risk for serious health complications, including malignancy.
The Saft family have been members of the CDF community since Gabbi’s diagnosis. In an effort to support Gabbi, and all those who are living with celiac disease, Warren joined Team Gluten-Free, CDF’s community fundraising program. On May 21, 2016, Warren rode his bike 150 miles from New York City to Montauk. He spent the months leading up to his ride encouraging his friends and family to contribute to his effort to support his daughter, and raised $25,000 for celiac research.
Warren’s goal for raising funds through Team Gluten-Free was to improve the health and quality of life for people who face daily challenges due to celiac disease. The money he raised is directly supporting CDF’s Young Investigator Award, which provides annual grants to emerging scientists to encourage fresh approaches and new thinking about celiac disease research. It is through these initiatives that we will see a treatment beyond the gluten-free diet, and someday, a cure for celiac disease.
We hope that you will join us with your own Team Gluten-Free fundraiser. Not only will you be raising funds to support Celiac Disease Foundation’s research, advocacy and education efforts, you will also be raising awareness of this woefully under-diagnosed disease, where just 20% of the three million Americans suffering from celiac disease are properly diagnosed.
Thank you to each and every one of you for your support of CDF. I hope that you will continue to contribute to our efforts to solve celiac disease together by making a gift or hosting a Team Gluten-Free Fundraiser in your community. The Gabbis in our lives are counting on us.
To Our Health,
Marilyn G. Geller
Chief Executive Officer