The Celiac Disease Foundation is proud to recognize our esteemed volunteers, Jackson Resin and Kelsey Smith, for their outstanding contributions to the Foundation and the celiac disease community.
Jackson Resin, the 2021 Celiac Disease Foundation Volunteer of the Year and Celiac Disease Foundation Student Ambassador creatively turns his hobbies into opportunities to raise awareness and funds for celiac disease research. In 2017, at 14 years old, Jackson hosted his first “Hoops for a Cure Basketball Tournament” in Los Angeles and continued to host this annual event in 2018 and 2019. Jackson’s passion and unique ability to think outside the box empowered him to take something as simple as playing basketball with friends and transform it into a fundraising basketball tournament to accelerate celiac disease research.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Jackson was unable to host his annual basketball tournament, but he did not let that hinder his fundraising efforts. Raising more than $12,000 as a top fundraiser in the 2020 CDF Virtual Turkey Trot exemplified Jackson’s steadfast dedication to funding research for treatments and a cure.
Jackson and his brother also created a comic to illustrate the struggles of dining out with celiac disease and the hope for a cure in his lifetime. With gratitude, we recognize Jackson’s leadership and passion that have strengthened our community in the fight to solve celiac disease.
We are pleased to honor Kelsey Smith with the inaugural 2021 Celiac Disease Foundation Advocacy Ambassador Award. Since the first Patient Advocacy Summit in 2020, Kelsey has continued to champion our advocacy work and serves as an instrumental advocate for the celiac community.
Kelsey was selected to participate in the Foundation’s inaugural Celiac Disease Foundation Advocacy Day. Kelsey walked alongside Foundation staff on Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and share her story as a celiac patient. Having prior advocacy experience, Kelsey proved an indispensable asset, and delivered compelling testimony in support of policy priorities for the celiac community. At the 2020 Patient Advocacy Summit, Kelsey shared her advocacy experience and encouraged celiac patients and caregivers to use their power to make their Members of Congress listen.
Since then, Kelsey’s involvement with the Foundation has only grown. Kelsey serves as the iAdvocate Forum Moderator, and as a member of the 2021 Patient Education & Advocacy Summit Steering Committee, Kelsey also spoke at the 2021 Summit about her experience advocating for celiac disease and her efforts to participate in a clinical trial, inspiring attendees to get involved in research and advocacy efforts.
As an extraordinary advocate, Kelsey’s efforts to push forward necessary policy change and empower others to take action have greatly benefited the celiac disease community.
Jackson and Kelsey’s remarkable commitment to the Foundation and celiac community is an inspiration to all of us. If you are inspired to help or want to find out more about volunteer and advocacy efforts, please visit our Team Gluten-Free page and iAdvocate Page.