Alex Runs for TGF to Find a Cure

TGF Member Alex

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 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 5K RAGE 053

Alex and her dad after the race!

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 CDF and it allows our donors to still get tax receipts for their donations.

Once we picked a date for the 5K, we needed to spread the word. With the help of my friends and family, we put signs up in stores in our town. Also, my dad made a website for the race. We have been handing out flyers at my track meets to other runners. I got interviewed by three local newspapers. Our hope is that people will read my story and get interested in running in my 5K.

For sponsors, my mom, my dad and I sent out several e-mails to our friends, our family, and my parent’s business associates. I also made phone calls to local stores, restaurants and doctors offices (gastroenterologists) to ask for their support.

The most important advice I have for other people creating their own event is to start planning as early as possible. Everything is a lot more complicated and time-consuming than you would expect. Leave a lot of time and don’t get discouraged. Lots of people didn’t respond or return our phone calls, but you have to keep on pushing – just like the last 800 meters in a 5K!!

Here are some links about Alex’s successful race! CDF is so proud of Alex’s effort!


Daily Herald

Chicago Tribute 

Naperville Sun