Celiac disease awareness month happens every year in May. Celiac disease is a serious, lifelong genetic disease. It can happen to anyone and at any time, as long as they carry the genes for celiac, and are exposed to gluten. About one in one hundred people have celiac disease, making it a very common autoimmune disease. Even small amounts of gluten makes people sick, and consistent exposure to gluten can lead to long-term damage. Currently, the only treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. This month is all about spreading awareness and celebrating the gluten-free wins we’ve had, and the excitement for what’s to come for our future!
How can you be a part of this special month?
1. Get Tested
If you’re currently eating gluten, you can get a blood test to screen for celiac antibodies. Based on those results, you can move forward with a biopsy – still while eating gluten. After the biopsy, your gastroenterologist can diagnose you with celiac disease. If you’ve been gluten free for a while and want to be diagnosed, see a gastroenterologist and see if a gluten challenge might work for you. While a celiac genetic test can be taken without eating gluten, a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you have active disease.
2. Be a Part of Online Campaigns to Spread Awareness
Participate in Gluten Intolerance Group’s #IAmGlutenFreeAnd Campaign
Gluten Intolerance Group launched the “I am Gluten Free And” campaign, sharing the diverse experiences of the gluten-free community. Share your own Gluten Free And story on social media and tag the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Beyond Celiac, Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance Group, National Celiac Association and Canadian Celiac Association joined together to promote KnowCeliac.org, a campaign to help educate the general public about celiac disease.
3. Attend the Research Symposiums and Advocacy Webinars
Beyond Celiac Research Symposium
On May 30th, Beyond Celiac will host a research symposium about the celiac disease drug pipeline, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and the importance of patient engagement in the drug development process. You can hear from key speakers in the celiac and gluten-free community like Joseph Murray, MD of the Mayo Clinic. If you’re in Philadelphia, you can attend for free in person. If you’re not in the area, you can watch it for free on their live stream.
Attend Children’s National Health Celiac Advocacy Webinar
On May 21st, Children’s National hospital is hosting a webinar about how you can leave your mark, and paying it forward to the next generation.
4. Be a Part of a Patient Network
Celiac Disease Foundation launched the iCureCeliac Patient Registry, an online patient-powered research network. Both patients and caregivers can fill out surveys about their health to help develop better treatments for celiac disease. Beyond Celiac launched Go Beyond Celiac, an online community for those with celiac disease, in hopes to advance celiac research by sharing stories and experiences.
5. Get Involved and Donate
You can always donate to celiac disease non-profits, with your time, or with a monetary donation. While it’s not always easy to donate money directly, you can easily volunteer for non-profit events like 5K walks or golf tournaments or help fundraise for campaigns.
6. Visit a Nourished Festival
Check out all of the great gluten-free products available in 2019! Join the Nourished Festival in Denver, Colorado May 18th and 19th and Schaumburg, IL June 1st and 2nd. The festival is also visiting Worcester in July, Dallas and Seattle in September, Secaucus in October, and San Mateo in November. Learn from top speakers during the festival and make new friends with other gluten-free people in your own community! View festival dates and locations here.
7. Share our Celiac Awareness Month image
Click here to download the graphic. Share it on social media along with a fact about celiac disease, a personal story about your journey, or even a great gluten-free recipe to spread extra support and awareness this month.