Reese Poncia

After years of suffering chronic gut pain, illness, and fatigue throughout college and law school, followed by countless GI appointments, testing, and cycling through various medications to help with my digestive issues, I was diagnosed with celiac disease in September 2018. Since then, I have been living a strictly gluten-free (and dairy-free due to my IBS-D and SIBO) lifestyle. As my digestive and autoimmune issues stemming from celiac disease continue to negatively affect and impact my everyday life, I remain hopeful for a cure or fix one day.  

The main reason I started running was due to my new-found appreciation and awe of the capabilities of my physical body after my successful surgery. I went from being unable to stand for more than one minute or walk even one mile without having to rest, sit down, or bend over. After surgery, I vowed that one day I would run a half-marathon and eventually a full marathon, my body willing. Since then, I have run over a dozen half-marathons, many other 5k/8ks in between, and even ran my own full marathon (alone) when the marathon I was set to run in the spring of 2020 was cancelled two weeks ahead of the race due to COVID. I look forward to running my next marathon with the Celiac Disease Foundation Team Gluten-Free.  Help Reese reach her goal! 


Charlie Thompson-Orsua

I am the father of two beautiful daughters who are affected by celiac disease every day. In 2014, my daughters were diagnosed with 

celiac disease.  I am proud to see them not let celiac dictate their lives, but it is a challenge for them daily.  They do not get to be carefree; cross-contact with gluten is a constant threat to their health and affects their lives in so many ways.  So, I have joined Team Gluten Free in the 2022 New York Marathon and am committed to raising $5,000 to support the Celiac Disease Foundation.  Please help me in this effort to honor my daughters and to make a difference. Help Charlie reach his goal!


Matti Neustadt

In 2001, I ran my first marathon. I ran for Team in Training in honor of my uncle who was fighting Leukemia.  It was an amazing (if slow) experience, and I caught the running bug.  In 2015, I was diagnosed with celiac disease.  Celiac disease caused severe muscle fatigue and joint pain.  After diagnosis, I went from running a 2:20 half marathon to being unable to walk across a parking lot without feeling like my legs would collapse underneath me from exhaustion.

I knew I needed to go on a gluten free diet.  A small exposure to gluten – a shared fryer, pasta cooked in “muggle” water – could mean weeks of muscle fatigue, joint pain, brain fog, and exhaustion.  And my world revolved around food.  Lunch with friends.

 Happy hours. Date nights. All things that now got me labeled as “high maintenance” “difficult” or “too demanding.” People stopped inviting. I stopped going. It was just too hard.  But if I kept compliant, I could keep running, biking, swimming, skiing.

Now I’ve been given the chance to run the New York City Marathon (bucket list!!) with the Celiac Disease Foundation Team Gluten Free to raise awareness and money to help find a cure for this physically painful and socially isolating disease. I remain hopeful that together we can improve the health and quality of life for people who face celiac disease.

Help Matti reach her goal! 


Emily Breuer

On November 6, 2022, I will be running the NYC Marathon to raise money for the Celiac Disease Foundation. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago, I have been lucky to be surrounded by a supportive family and friends and have the resources to maintain a gluten-free diet. Over the years I have seen progress in celiac awareness and accommodations, and I hope that we can continue to improve the health and quality of life for people who have celiac disease, especially for those who do not have the same support system or access that I’ve had. Help Emily reach her goal!


Clara McNatt

At the end of the summer of 2016, I left behind pre-professional ballet, a world that had defined me for most of my childhood and young adolescence, and prepared to transfer to a new high school for my sophomore year. Everything about my 15-year-old identity was in flux; in desperate need of a new “home,” I turned to running. I went out for the cross-country team a few weeks before school started, and the cross-country team quickly became my primary social outlet. Some of my most treasured friendships began at the track. Running has become a huge part of my life, as both a unifying force and an individual meditation. 

One morning during my junior year of high school, I noticed my limbs tingling while walking to school. I spoke to my dad and my coach and emailed my doctor about getting blood drawn — I have Graves’ Disease Hyperthyroidism and a history of chronic anemia. I knew something was wrong, but I wanted to run. I needed to run. I believed I had no excuse not to run. I didn’t have a diagnosis. Yet. On race day, I stood on the start line terrified. I looked down at my trembling legs and waited for the gun. We took off. I immediately clicked my watch over to the heart rate monitor screen. Within seconds it had leapt to 170 beats per minute. Then 180. I looked up and kept going until about halfway through the race, when tears started to roll down my contorted face and I felt lightheaded. I couldn’t see straight. I could barely put one foot in front of the other. I looked down at my watch. 217 beats per minute. I stumbled over the finish line, too humiliated to stop short, and cried in the arms of some race official. Once I mustered the strength and courage to walk back to the team tent, my mom told me that my labs had come back. My thyroid was fine, but my ferritin levels were undetectable. Next came the diagnosis: celiac disease. I stopped eating gluten and received an iron infusion in the cancer ward of my local hospital, and soon I could run again.  I was chosen to be a Student Ambassador for the Celiac Disease Foundation during my senior year of high school. With the help of my dear friend and her little brother, who also has celiac, I set out to spread awareness and raise money for the Celiac Disease Foundation. We called our effort “Sac for Celiac” and, naturally, we hosted a 5K. My experience as a member of the celiac disease community has been closely intertwined with my love for running from the day of my diagnosis. I have battled to keep running, and I am honored to represent the Celiac Disease Foundation at this year’s TCS NYC Marathon! I appreciate your support as I embark on this new challenge, in the name of better living for individuals with Celiac. Help Clara reach her goal!