In many ways, Alex is a typical 12 year old girl. A 7th grader from a Chicago Suburb, Alex is an avid long distance runner who takes ballet class, plays defense on her soccer team and goes for long walks with her dog, Hermosa. Last year, she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Alex, whose previous favorite food in the world was French bread, must now avoid even microscopic traces of gluten for the rest of her life or risk serious long term health complications.

Alex Morris and her father hold a banner after the 5K race.

Alex just joined Team Gluten-free and has decided to combine her love of running with a strong desire to help with efforts to find a cure for celiac disease. She therefore established a 5K race — Alex’s 5K RAGE (Race for Answers to Gluten Enteropathy) held on Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Alex has a few tips for people on how to create their own 5k walk or run. Here is what she has to say:

I was diagnosed with celiac disease last summer. Every year, I am responsible for doing a community service project. Ever since my diagnosis last summer, I decided to focus on my love for running and turn that into an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for celiac disease.

My family and I talked about different projects and thought that a 5K would be a cool idea. We joined Team Gluten-Free because it is an easy way to get funds to the Celiac Disease Foundation and it allows our donors to still get tax receipts for their donations.