You have surely already received emails from Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) that tell the stories of many in our community who are living with celiac disease. Some of these emails include videos that really capture the power and passion of the voices speaking about their disease.
These emails are part of our annual year-end Gift of Hope fundraising campaign. This year, we have been challenged by our Board of Directors to raise $100,000, and to help us reach that goal, they have agreed to match gifts from our community up to that amount. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity, nor can I thank enough anyone who chooses to support our efforts. The funds we raise during this year-end campaign help set our course for the coming year and, as you know, we have ambitious plans over the next 12 months to advance research, increase the diagnosis rate, and to give voice to the millions who suffer from celiac disease.
I want to use this message, however, to thank everyone who shared their personal stories about celiac disease for use in this campaign. The popular perception is that celiac disease and its medically necessary gluten-free diet are little more than a fad. I am continually amazed at how many medical professionals continue to dismiss celiac disease as a minor nuisance that really isn’t worth their time, or who simply choose to ignore its existence altogether. When I think back on the years of needless suffering my child endured as we traveled from doctor to doctor seeking relief, I am still outraged. The stories that we are sharing with you in this Gift of Hope campaign, as well as the many others we have been privileged to receive, are so honest and sincere and, very often, heart-wrenching. The pain that so many of us in the celiac disease community have personally experienced or shared with a loved one is real. It is lasting. And post-diagnosis recovery of both body and mind, even with the gluten-free diet, is often not easy or quick. And we worry…I know I worry daily…about the long-term impacts of the constant damage gluten caused my son all those years, and continues to cause despite his best efforts against cross-contamination. But this is the energy that fuels me and my work on our community’s behalf – these stories that are infused with hope. Hope that there will be more understanding about celiac disease and its impact on our lives. There will be increased diagnosis rates. There will be a cure.
This is the hope that drives us at CDF. This is the hope your tax-deductible gift helps ensure.
Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season,
Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive Officer