Clara McNatt

Clara McNatt was diagnosed with celiac disease in October 2018, cutting a promising junior year cross country season short and adding a significant layer of anxiety to her daily life. Although she adapted quickly to the gluten-free diet, her heart went out to those 2.5 million people in the United States living with undiagnosed celiac and enduring symptoms every day. She feels that it is important to respect the disruption that celiac disease has on a person’s life and has worked to educate her community about how to support gluten-free individuals and make them feel safe.

One day at a coffee shop, she sat down with her friend Libby Reynolds, whose younger brother, Jonah, also has celiac disease, and they decided to become a CDF Student Ambassador team to try to make their high school and greater community more celiac-friendly. They called themselves “Sac for Celiac” (short for Sacramento) and began an Instagram campaign, made logos, and began planning ways to involve others in the effort. Clara’s senior project at C K McClatchy High School, a fun run to benefit the Celiac Disease Foundation, was Sac for Celiac’s first local event. She strove to answer common questions such as, “What is celiac disease?” “What is gluten?” and “What can/can’t you eat?” and to normalize celiac disease as something that much of the population deals with as part of life. She has raised over $1,800 to accelerate celiac disease research, education, and advocacy initiatives. She hopes to continue to spread awareness in college and get involved with more events to benefit the Foundation’s mission.

Sarina Fernandez-Grinshpun

CDF Student Ambassador Sarina is an avid community builder and celiac disease advocate, active in the celiac community on a local and national level. She was lucky to have an early diagnosis, at age four, thanks to her family being alert for celiac disease due to family history. Sarina’s first foray into the celiac community was through Celiac Camp, based in Northern California, when she was 9. Sarina went from not knowing another kid with celiac to being surrounded by them! Living gluten-free is so challenging, which made it amazing to go to camp and know that all the food was safe and that all the kids and staff knew what it meant to wrestle daily with celiac disease.

Meeting other kids with celiac caused a massive shift for Sarina. She was lucky in so many respects: early diagnosis, access to knowledgeable medical help, and having a local option for celiac camp. Since then, she has dedicated her life to fostering a deeper community for celiac kids and their families.

Sarina was selected to attend the Celiac Advocacy Summit in Washington DC, sponsored by CDF. She was so inspired by the research and advocacy efforts, that she decided to launch a website to share the science and encourage more kids and families to advocate. Sarina has interviewed many celiac experts, posted articles on her website about different aspects of celiac, and became a student advocate. Sarina knows how difficult and isolating it can be to be a kid with celiac, and she wants to make sure that all kids feel like they have a community and that they aren’t alone.

Rebecca Kampel

CDF Student Ambassador Becca Kampel was recently diagnosed with celiac disease at age 12. This past September, at her 12-year check up, her pediatrician noticed that she was not growing.  She is very grateful to her for catching it, because Becca would not be as healthy as she is today if she hadn’t. At the time when she explained celiac to Becca, she was thinking, “There’s no way I have this, I love pasta too much!” She went in for a blood test and a bone scan, to find out her bones matched up to an 11 year old.  A blood test and an endoscopy confirmed her pediatrician’s suspicion.

Becca has been gluten-free for 7 months, and she feels like she has already changed so much: she has grown, has more energy, is sleeping better, and is so much happier!  This year, she is having her Bat Mitzvah, and she is raising money for the Celiac Disease Foundation as her Mitzvah project. This was an easy choice for her, because she wants to help raise awareness for other kids who may be impacted. So far, she has raised nearly $500 and is halfway to her goal.

Becca is proud to be a CDF Student Ambassador because she can help educate other kids about celiac, especially the ones, like her, who didn’t know all of the ways it can affect your health. Becca says, “Having celiac disease is more than just being ‘gluten-free.’ It is a new way of life, but I am happy to have family and friends to support me.”

Sophie Wallack

The Celiac Disease Foundation’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year, Sophie, became a CDF Student Ambassador because she is determined to raise awareness of celiac disease and fundraise to aid important research.

She and her younger sister were diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago, and Sophie has since become an avid gluten-free baker. Creating a successful online gluten-free bakery was not only fun for 13-year-old Sophie, but also allowed her to make an incredible difference in the celiac community. Through her bakery and Student Ambassador fundraising page, Sophie has raised over $14,500 to support celiac disease research!

Shreya Mahajan

Being a Celiac Disease Foundation Student Ambassador is valuable to Shreya because it gives her a platform to raise awareness about celiac disease. Raising awareness for celiac is important because it causes people to be more involved in the efforts to support organizations like the Celiac Disease Foundation that seek to increase rates of diagnosis, improve treatments, and ultimately find a cure. Shreya was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 9, and at that time, she had no idea what it was or how it would affect her life. However, throughout the years, she has learned more about what it means to have celiac disease, and she has felt so supported by the gluten-free community.

In 2019, Shreya participated in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, which is a 40-mile bike tour through all the five boroughs of New York City, and raised funds for the Celiac Disease Foundation. She was proud to successfully reach her fundraising goal, which supports the Foundation’s efforts to accelerate research, education, and advocacy, and she also spread awareness about celiac disease in her school community. Ultimately, Shreya’s hope is that people with celiac disease, like her, can have a better quality of life, and one day, a cure.

Josey McCarthy

Josey McCarthy excitedly and confidently educated her third grade classmates about celiac disease and has helped further celiac research through incredible fundraising efforts! She created an educational video with her Dad, Aunt, and brother, and thoughtfully responded to inquisitive questions raised by peers after her presentation.

Through her dedication to fundraising and educating her community, Josey is proud to help accelerate celiac disease research for a cure…so one day, she can enjoy the food she misses the most – macaroni and cheese!

Brooke Pierpoint

CDF Student Ambassador Brooke Pierpoint was diagnosed with celiac disease in 6th grade. Leading up to the year prior to her diagnosis, she wasn’t growing or gaining weight, always felt fatigued, lacked endurance & strength when playing sports, and had difficulty concentrating. As her mother was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1992, she was very familiar with the gluten-free diet, but acknowledges that maintaining a gluten-free diet can be very challenging, frustrating, and isolating at times.

Now, as a sophomore in high school, Brooke is dedicated to raising funds to support research in hopes of finding a cure and creating a future in which no one will have to worry about accidentally ingesting gluten and its detrimental effects. A devoted volunteer and leader in the celiac community, Brooke educates her peers and school cafeteria staff, and raised over $3,000 as a participant in the Los Angeles Turkey Trot!

Morgan Shondelmyer

A dedicated CDF Student Ambassador, Morgan Shondelmyer, is making a difference in raising funds for celiac disease research. Since she was diagnosed in 2015, 8-year-old Morgan has had to make many lifestyle adjustments, always ensuring that things like classroom projects and parties are safe and gluten-free. As a Student Ambassador, Morgan has raised over $1,400 for celiac disease research, educated her peers about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet at her school’s science fair, and is hosting an event at her local Chuck E. Cheese. Through her hard work and education, she is helping other people understand what she has to go through and the severity of celiac disease.

Colette Doyle

CDF Student Ambassador Colette educated her peers about celiac disease through her Girl Scout Silver Award Project in Long Island, NY. She discussed safe local restaurant options, gluten-free products and recipes, helpful apps and resources, and myths around celiac disease. She also made King Arthur muffins, Barilla pasta salad, and gave out FreeYumm samples. Through her blog, she continues to raise awareness of celiac disease and be a young leader in the celiac community.



Nina Boudet

Nina, a CDF Student Ambassador, hosted the Celiac Cycle 2019, a fundraising event organized by the glutenfree.305 club at The m*ergy Experience in Miami, Florida. Participants experienced the 30/30 class, which is a unique fitness class combining spinning and functional training.  Nina’s event raised celiac disease awareness in her community and contributed to research by raising $1,600!

Jacob Tannenbaum

CDF Student Ambassador Jacob hosted a successful 3 on 3 basketball tournament benefiting the Celiac Disease Foundation for his bar mitzvah! In addition to having tons of fun, Jacob was able to educate his peers about celiac disease and raise over $2,240 to accelerate celiac disease research, education, and advocacy. They had great raffle prizes, gluten-free lunch, and a gluten-free icee truck. We are proud of Jacob’s hard work and leadership in the celiac community!

Daniela Abbo

At age nine, CDF Student Ambassador Daniela started suffering from sharp stomach pains, and after many tests, was diagnosed with celiac disease. Since her diagnosis, she has had to make some adjustments; she now has to plan meals in advance, be very responsible about what she eats, and practice self-control.  It is not easy to have celiac disease, especially in high school, but she gratefully recognizes that it has helped her develop resilience.

She turned difficulty into action, and instead of being sad about this situation, wants to help other teens going through similar challenges. She has compiled a group of gluten-free dessert recipes, which not only are very easy to make, but are also delicious and satisfying.  Through this cookbook, named Celicious, she wants to raise awareness about celiac disease and help other teens deal with the challenges that this condition presents.

Daniela also hosted a successful fundraising event at a local spin class, which raised over $550 and included educational brochures to spread awareness of the severity of celiac disease!


On June 10th and 11th 2017, Jonny held a fundraiser for the Celiac Disease Foundation at the annual New York Club Soccer League Cup Finals at HBC Soccer Park in Huntington, NY. His goal was to raise money by selling raffle tickets to the players and parents who attended the event.

Attendees had the chance of winning some incredible prizes that were donated to the fundraiser by various restaurants, stores, and Upper 90 Soccer in Hicksville, NY. The money donated by the attendees is going to help spread awareness of celiac disease and help continue with research, as well.

With the support from Craig Pinto, his family members, Upper 90 Soccer, and Milton’s Gluten Free Chips, the fundraiser was a complete success! Not only did he raise $900, but he was also able to share his knowledge of celiac disease.

Jonny was recently featured in Gluten-Free Living Magazine for his hard work, and was also accepted to Cornell University, where he plans to continue his work of spreading awareness of celiac disease to peers. We are incredibly grateful to Jonny for his dedication to the celiac community and raising funds for critical research, education, and advocacy.

  • Jonny, a student ambassador, stands beside a booth at an event.
  • Jonny, a student ambassador, sits at a booth at an event.


At 12 years old, Maizy Boosin competed on Chopped Junior against three other junior chefs, but Maizy had a unique challenge – she chose to cook everything exclusively gluten-free while given the same basket of ingredients as her competitors. On the show, Maizy shared that she cooks gluten-free because she has celiac disease; she started cooking after her diagnosis at age seven.

When Maizy won the competition, she donated a portion of her award to Celiac Disease Foundation. Maizy’s generous donation to the Foundation will advance research toward treatments and a cure for celiac disease.

Maizy also registered as a Celiac Disease Foundation Student Ambassador, where she is working to raise awareness of celiac disease in her school and local community. The Student Ambassador Program helps children, teens, and young adults become role models for others with celiac disease while fostering a greater understanding in the community and educating their peers.

Maizy’s success story was featured in the April 2017 issue of Gluten-Free Living magazine. Maizy plans to contribute kid-friendly recipes and cooking demos to the Foundation’s website and to share her experiences in dining out with the Foundation’s audience. We welcome Maizy and look forward to her continued involvement with Celiac Disease Foundation.

View Maizy’s Story Here!


Growing up, Skylar Weitz was self-conscious and shy about having celiac disease – she didn’t like feeling different from her peers. Today, at 11 years old, five years after her diagnosis, Skylar is proud to educate people about her disease and about how it affects a patient’s everyday life.

In order to help raise awareness and funds to advance research toward a cure for celiac disease, Skylar began The Skylar Project where she makes and sells beautiful bracelets. Since last fall, Skylar has raised $3,000 for Celiac Disease Foundation which will bring us that much closer to finding a cure. Skylar plans to continue donating her proceeds toward celiac disease research.

Skylar’s commitment to raising awareness of celiac disease and advocating for a cure is encouraging and admirable. Her efforts, together with the many other active members of our community, are helping to improve the quality of life for everyone affected by celiac disease.

Skylar’s success story was featured in Gluten-Free Living Magazine. You can find out more and order the bracelets by emailing [email protected].

View Skylar’s Story Here!


My name is Brooke Elmore, I am sixteen, I was diagnosed with celiac in November of 2015, and I became a student ambassador in September of 2016.  In my community, I have found that the best way to educate people about celiac disease is by word of mouth.  Whenever I go out to eat or I am at an event where there is food, I explain to people what celiac disease is.  Most of my school soccer team, who would have not known about it, now understands what living with celiac disease is.

Also, this year I participated in an exchange program with my high school. I took this as an opportunity as an ambassador and educated a lot of French students about what celiac disease was. I was trying to spread the word internationally! I also posted about my disease on my school’s technology portal, to allow kids at my own school to read and learn about what celiac disease is.

Recently, I have started an Instagram and YouTube channel to share my experiences and discoveries within my gluten-free lifestyle! They are both called “Celiactivist” and on both platforms I share things such as my favorite foods, recipes I’ve tried, restaurants that are accommodating, and much more. I hope to grow my audience within the next year to help create a community of celiacs who can support each other in their journey!

I also have plans to do presentations about celiac disease at the middle school in my area. Finally, I am on the food service committee for my district for the next year, with a goal of getting gluten free options in all school cafeterias. I love being a celiac disease Student Ambassador, and I hope I can continue to educate my school and community about a cause that’s so important to me!


As a Celiac Disease Student Ambassador, I have informed my community not only of the severity of celiac disease, but also of research that I have conducted involving a connection between celiac disease and the brain. I have also distributed the brochures to health teachers in my school district.

Within the next month, as it is celiac awareness month, I have great aspirations. Some of these include working with the MLB Mets team to sell tickets in which proceeds will go to celiac research, as well as working with Buffalo Wild Wings to earn some money as well.


As a newly diagnosed teen with celiac disease, I’m always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and create something that I will be proud of. Then I came across this Student Ambassador gig, and I really did not want to miss this chance. I completed my first presentation with my family by my side, where we learned new things and shared some tears because they truly knew this journey that I was on was indeed a difficult one. My next steps as a Student Ambassador will be to organize an event so I can raise funds for the Foundation and to attend the National Conference this upcoming June!


I am 16 years old, and I have been raising awareness for celiac disease since I was diagnosed at 11 years old. My friends never heard of it or knew anything about a gluten-free diet. Over the past few years, I have raised money for research at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. The attached picture is a presentation I made to my sisters’ Girl Scout troop.


I presented the celiac disease video to a Family Consumer science class, as well as a muffin lab.  I gave students two muffins of the same brand. But, one cupcake was gluten-free, and one cupcake was not. They had to tell me the difference and their opinions on the matter.


Mia Golden knew she wanted to make a difference to help cure Celiac disease so she asked her school to pick the Celiac Disease Foundation for their walk-a-thon fundraiser. Mia and her mom went into every classroom and explained how people with celiac disease have to be good detectives in order to keep themselves safe and healthy. She raised over $7,000!


As a Celiac Disease Foundation Student Ambassador, I took part in Food Allergy Awareness Week at my school where I was able to talk about celiac disease. There were also many things that happened around the school:

  • A bulletin board was put up.
  • A flyer went out to all the parents.
  • I did a News @ 9 interview that was shown to the whole school.


As the daughter of active TGF member Shira, it comes as no surprise that Ayelet is a natural celiac disease advocate and educator. Ayelet began her classroom presentation with an educational celiac disease video, and then gave a speech. Next, each child got a different box of food and had to determine if it contained gluten or was gluten-free. Classmates then sorted the boxes onto two tables that were labeled “gluten” or “gluten-free”. This game was a fun way to inform her peers!

“Even though Ayelet has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, she shines wherever she goes and touches many with her smile and spirit.”

Learn more about Ayelet here!


Vivi presented her Celiac Disease Project to spread awareness and teach her peers about celiac disease. A program at her school, Genius Hour, allows students one class period a week for a semester to work on a project that makes a difference, and she chose celiac disease awareness.

She spoke for 7 minutes, classmates and the teacher asked questions, and she was able to answer them all. She even sent them home with informational brochures. Additionally, Vivi had a gluten-free bake sale and baked everything herself! The funds raised from the bake sale went directly to the Foundation to support celiac disease research, education, and advocacy.

Learn more about Vivienne here!

  • Vivienne Cannon holds a poster board illustrating information about celiac disease.


In April 2018, Jackson planned and hosted his second annual “Hoops for a Cure Basketball Tournament” in Los Angeles. Jackson knows how to put the fun in fundraising and raised over $7,500 to accelerate research for a cure! He is grateful to all his friends who participated in the tournament and everyone who supported the event.

Jackson and his brother, Jordan, created a comic to illustrate the struggles of dining out with celiac disease and the hope for a cure in his lifetime. Celiac Disease Foundation staff were excited to attend the event and are deeply appreciative for his commitment to raising funds and awareness for research.

Learn more about Jackson here!

  • Jackson Resin stands with a basketball alongside Laura Boone and Jena Fellenzer.

Caroline & Alexis

Caroline, 7 years old, and Alexis, 6 years old, both have celiac disease. Together, they explained to their first grade class why they need to eat gluten-free foods. They showed the Team Gluten-Free video and explained how they look for the words “gluten-free” on food packages. Their classmates had so many questions, and the girls were able to answer them all! As Student Ambassadors, they plan to continue educating their friends about being gluten-free and celiac disease.