Clearly, these are difficult times for all of us, nonprofit organizations included. Collectively, the nonprofit community exists to elevate the public good, to make the world a better place. Confronted with the reality of an all-consuming global pandemic, every nonprofit, including the Celiac Disease Foundation, has had to figure out where we fit in a world that is quickly changing and into a future that no one can honestly predict.
We have committed to sustaining our efforts to accelerate through research and advocacy the development of treatments and a cure for celiac disease. Our meetings with Members of Congress and NIH continue virtually to assure funding for celiac disease research. We are also continuing to invest in direct research that demonstrates the long-term health implications of having celiac disease, as shared with you last week in Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl’s JAMA article. While none of us want to hear that people with celiac disease have a greater mortality risk, we can no longer ignore that a cure is needed.
I am pleased to share that because of the generosity of our donors, the Celiac Disease Foundation has also been able to fund research towards a cure for many years. Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, is the lead researcher at the University of Chicago whose team has developed a mouse model for celiac disease, some 20 years in the making. In 2009, I was able to personally present Dr. Jabri with the William K. Warren, Jr. Prize for Excellence in Celiac Disease Research to assist Dr. Jabri with her work. In 2019, Valerie Abadie, PhD, a member of Dr. Jabri’s team was a recipient of the Foundation’s Young Investigator Award. In addition to her work on the mouse model, Dr. Abadie is studying the role of B cells in causing the immune reaction in celiac disease.
I fully appreciate that we are all in uncharted waters. I want you to understand that we are here (in truth, here and there as we are all working remotely) working on the mission you have entrusted us with.
Wishing you good health,
Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive