Team Gluten-Free Member Spotlight

Ariel Spiegelman

Ariel Spiegelman is a high school junior in Long Island, New York. Ariel was diagnosed with celiac disease in the fall of 2016.  Before she even had time to grasp her new reality, Ariel jumped at the opportunity to support the Long Island inaugural Celiac Disease Foundation Turkey Trot and returned again in the fall 2017 event, being the top fundraiser for both events.  With the support of her family, friends, and community, Ariel continues to demonstrate her commitment to help find a cure for celiac disease.

Ariel continues to show her dedication to the celiac disease community by volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House Long Island, where she cooked a gluten-free meal for 85 guests.

The Celiac Disease Foundation had the honor of presenting Ariel Spiegelman the Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year at the 2018 National Conference and Gluten-Free EXPO. Thank you, Ariel, for your support of the Celiac Disease Foundation!


Julie McCormack

Thanks to Julie McCormack for raising money for Celiac Disease Foundation at the AITI Golf Outing in Chicago for the past two years. The 2017 event had 118 golfers and raised almost $9,000.  The event included golf contests, a raffle, and a poker run. Julie became involved with Team Gluten-Free because her daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. During the event, she learned that other golfers also had children with celiac disease. She is passionate about her support for CDF and is eager to increase the rate of diagnosis in celiac disease. We are grateful for Julie’s hard work and look forward to the 2018 Golf Outing.


Alex Morris

Along with her 2 friends, Haley Glowacki and Megan Driscoll, Alex Morris planned the second 5K RAGE Against Celiac Disease in Naperville, IL. RAGE stands for Race for Answers to Gluten Enteropathy. The race took place on a day designated as Celiac Awareness Day by the Naperville City Council, which honored the runners for their work raising awareness for celiac disease.

Alex, at age 12, launched the 5k RAGE in 2014. What began as a bat mitzvah service project and a fundraiser for CDF (raising nearly $10,000) made a return because she wanted to do more.

Alex and her friends did an incredible job building celiac disease awareness in their community while supporting CDF and having a fun run. They raised an additional $10,000 at their 2017 5k RAGE. Thank you, Alex, Haley, and Megan!


Jake Castleman

During the summer between fourth and fifth grade, Jake’s parents became concerned with his small size and skinny frame. The family doctor said that he had not grown in three years, and only weighed 50 pounds. For the next several months, Jake’s mom took him to many specialists. By the following January, he had a biopsy of his small intestine that confirmed he had celiac disease. The doctor told him there was no cure and he must adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. This was very difficult for an eleven year old, but with the help the Celiac Disease Foundation, they found information on how to not only eat gluten-free but hope for a cure.

Every year the Castleman Family attends the Annual CDF Gluten-Free EXPO in Southern California. Through this event, Jake has been able to see that he is not alone as a teen. He jumped at the chance to help raise money for the CDF as a Student Ambassador. In his community, and even in his extended family, most people do not understand what celiac disease really is. Raising money and spreading the word is so important! Not only reached did Jake hit his fundraising goal, but also surpassed it, raising $1,350. This year, his goal is to become more involved and educate more students and teachers at his school. He also plans to continue next year when he goes to college.


Shira Ravera

With friends and family, Shira trained to run a 5k in support of her daughter, Ayelet, and all others who are living with celiac disease. “Even though Ayelet has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, she shines wherever she goes and touches many with her smile and spirit.” In order to find a cure for Ayelet, and the millions of others who are at risk of long-term health problems, who need to be viligant about every bite they eat, never getting a vacation from being careful about every single morsel that goes in their mouths, Shira raised more than $1,700.

While they were fortunate that Ayelet was diagnosed within a year of her symptoms, most are not that fortunate and the average time to diagnosis is nearly 10 years! In fact, of the 3 million Americans with celiac disease, only 1 in 5 are diagnosed. Thanks to a strict gluten-free diet, Ayelet is on a path to healing.

No child or adult should suffer from a debilitating disease with lasting health repercussions. It is because she remains hopeful that, together with the Celiac Disease Foundation, the health and quality of life for people with celiac disease can be improved. Thank you, Shira and the Ravera family, for your support of the Foundation!