We are thrilled to be selected again this year as an Official Charity Partner in the 2023 TCS NYC Marathon! On November 5, Team Gluten-Free runners from across the country will unite in New York to run 26.2 miles with the common goal of accelerating diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for the 3 million Americans affected by celiac disease.  

We are so grateful to these six runners for their inspiring efforts! We extend our sincere thanks for their participation and invite you to learn more about each person and what drives them to support our collective mission.  

Jess Cannon 

Although I do not have celiac disease myself, I have witnessed many loved ones’ lives change forever from this disease. From the struggle of finding the correct diagnosis for the unending combination of nonspecific symptoms, to the complete change of lifestyle required for a gluten-free diet. My father was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2015, at the age of 62. My older brother was then diagnosed three years ago. Looking back, I suspect several other family members had undiagnosed celiac disease and unfortunately suffered many complications. My family’s experience with this disease forever changed in 2017 when my dad had very serious and rare complications ultimately attributed to his celiac disease.  

When this opportunity to run a marathon for Team Gluten-Free was presented to me by my dad, I thought it would be perfect. Running is something I can do. I can raise funds and awareness about this all-encompassing disease, and hopefully not feel so helpless in this fight. I have run five half marathons and will be running my very first full marathon in New York City this fall. To be able to run the NYC Marathon for Team Gluten-Free, on behalf of my father, brother, and other family members/friends is a huge honor. I hope my fundraising efforts can not only help raise awareness about celiac disease, but also allow others to realize celiac disease is so much more than just eating gluten free. Help Jess reach her goal! 


Leah Contino 

It took 5 years for my celiac disease diagnosis to come to fruition. From the ages of 16 to 21, multiple doctors told me that my digestive issues, migraines, hives, and crippling anxiety were all due to stress. So, when I was 18, I began running as a way to cope with my ever-present anxiety and panic attacks. While running was amazing for my mental health, my stomach issues continued to get worse. I finally pushed my doctor to run tests, and weeks after my 21st birthday, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Now, nine years after learning about my celiac disease, my stomach issues have significantly improved, my anxiety is more manageable, and I love taste-testing all of the gluten-free food that my husband cooks.

Since I began running 12 years ago, I have completed 2 full marathons, 15 half marathons, and countless 10ks and 5ks. I continue to run with a local running group (Charm City Run) and am building back my endurance after giving birth to my beautiful daughter, Ava. I can’t think of a better way to hop back into a formal training cycle than to train for the New York City Marathon—a race that’s been on my bucket list for years—and raise funds and awareness for the disease that has changed my life. I want to show my daughter that anything is possible, and even though I have this diagnosis of celiac disease and live with anxiety, we can do hard things and push through any challenge. Help Leah reach her goal! 


Christopher Dougherty 

Join me in supporting the Celiac Disease Foundation as I run the NYC Marathon in honor of my daughter, Ella, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 2 years ago. Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. Celiac disease is more than just eating gluten free and each day I am so proud of how Ella navigates the complexities of this disorder at such a young age. After Ella’s diagnosis so much about our lives changed, from what and where we can eat to the places and events we go. Through education, and a great support team of doctors and family, we’ve been able to make sure Ella doesn’t feel limited by her celiac disease.  

We recognize that many others do not have access to the same supports and resources we do for Ella. It is because I remain hopeful that together we can improve the health and quality of life for people who face celiac disease, I ask you to join me in supporting the Celiac Disease Foundation. Help Christopher reach his goal! 


MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord 

I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 18 years old. It was 2012, I was a freshman in undergrad, and the phrase “gluten-free” felt insurmountably unfamiliar. When I was diagnosed at the doctor’s office that day, I was given a list of forbidden foods and what to watch out for, then sent on my way. I remember my mom (the absolute saint that she is) calmly holding my hand and walking me through each grocery store aisle, carefully reading the label of each item I picked up. It was an overwhelming time, learning to adjust to a new normal. I have not (purposely) had gluten in more than ten years, and I have never looked back.  

I am excited and honored to run for Team Gluten Free in the NYC Marathon. From Upstate, I currently live in Brooklyn and am a lawyer at a non-profit representing tenants in the Bronx. New York is my home, and I have immense respect and love for its people. On race day, I run not only for our Gluten Free community but also for my father, an avid marathon runner who passed far too young in 2021. I often did not understand him, but I have come to understand his love of running. I like to think that he would be proud. Help MaryEllen reach her goal! 


Claire Graham 

I am so excited to be running the NYC Marathon for Team Gluten-Free this year. As I am sure most people know (because it is like 80% of my personality) I have celiac disease. Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. I was diagnosed a little over four years ago and I feel very privileged to be able to fundraise for the Celiac Disease Foundation which does such important work like research for a cure. So if you want to be a super cool gluten free ally or just a really great friend, donate!! Any donation helps the Celiac Disease Foundation accelerate critical celiac disease research, education, and advocacy initiatives. Help Claire reach her goal! 



Stuart Smith 

MY WHY >> My wife created CAULIPOWER because her two sons have celiac disease, because even gluten-free food should taste delish!

MY OTHER WHY >> I need to run one marathon before I hit that big birthday, and the Celiac Disease Foundation has given me a wonderful chance to fulfil a bucket list wish. 

It is because I remain hopeful that together we can improve the health and quality of life for people who face celiac disease, I ask you to join me in supporting the Celiac Disease Foundation. Help Stuart reach his goal! 


The Celiac Disease Foundation also extends our deepest gratitude to our marathon runners from past years who contributed their time and effort to fundraising for celiac disease research treatments and a cure. Read their stories: