Throughout my life, my biggest fans have always been my parents. They have supported me through every sport that I have ever played, no questions asked. A few years ago, I got into endurance sports (marathons, Ironman triathlons, etc.) and again they were by my side.
My Dad was also into his own endurance sport, surfing. He was the healthiest 67 year old I knew. He could surf for hours on end (up to 7 hours if the waves were good), and wake up the next morning to do it again. He was freshly retired and enjoying surfing even more, when one day he felt so faint, he wound up in the emergency room. Fast forward two years, numerous hospital stays, every test possible, and several trips to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, he was officially diagnosed with celiac disease.
Needless to say, our lives have changed since the diagnosis. To watch him lose so much weight, become easily fatigued, and not be able to surf has been heart breaking. But he took it all in stride, educated himself and us about gluten-free living and is still one of the most positive people I know. Two years ago, I honestly thought being gluten-free was a hipster fad diet. Since my Dad’s diagnosis, I learned how ignorant I was.
I want to help spread awareness about the dangers of gluten for those with celiac disease. I often think about how my Dad has been able to endure and persevere through his diagnosis on a daily basis. He inspires me as an endurance athlete to keep pushing through my training everyday. To be able to represent him and the Celiac Disease Foundation in the TCS NYC Marathon means so much to me. It is truly an honor and a privilege to represent an organization that is committed to raise awareness and support education, research and treatment of celiac disease.
On November 1, 2020, Team Gluten-Free runners from across the country will unite in New York to run the 26.2 miles with one common goal: to accelerate diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for the three million Americans affected by celiac disease.
The Celiac Disease Foundation is the nation’s leading disease advocacy organization for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Since its founding in 1990, the Celiac Disease Foundation continues to champion many battles: federal recognition of celiac disease and labeling standards for gluten-free foods, improved diagnostic tools, widespread patient and provider education, access to mainstream gluten-free products, and the need for better treatments and a cure.