I was looking for my next athletic goal and in an unexpected way I found it. To participate in the 2019 NYC Marathon and raise money for an auto immune disease that up until this past January I wasn't even aware of.
Why is it on my radar now? In January 2019 our daughter Alina was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Ali has always been on the low end of the growth charts since birth but both my husband and I developed late so we just figured she would too. However as more of her friends hit growth spurts we decided to just double check to be sure there wasn’t anything else going on. Bone scans indicated her bones were 2 1/2 years younger than her age. Sounded about right to my husband and I given our growth patterns. Even though everything else appeared normal Ali's endocrinologist wanted to test her for Celiac which can be known to cause stunted growth or delayed puberty. The bloodwork tested positive and her diagnosis was then confirmed through an endoscopy.
1 in 100 people worldwide are affected by Celiac. 1 in 10 related family members also have Celiac. After Ali's diagnosis her brother Austin tested negative however I tested positive via the bloodtest. I still need to complete an endoscopy/biopsy for final confirmation.
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means that you cannot “grow out” of it. When someone with celiac disease eats something with gluten, their body overreacts to the protein and damages their villi, which are very small finger-like projections found along the wall of the small intestine. When the villi are injured, the small intestine can’t properly absorb nutrients from food. Eventually, this can lead to malnourishment, as well as loss of bone density, miscarriage infertility-- even to the start of neurological diseases, or certain cancers. The treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. Only food and beverage with a gluten content less than 20 parts per million (ppm) is allowed. So we are now on the Gluten Free eating journey and learning as we go. You'd be surprised how many unexpected things contain gluten. There are tons of GF products out there, some good and some not so good and we've quickly learned ways to adjust recipes etc to ensure we're avoiding it.
So when this opportunity arose to run the marathon I was excited, and nervous. I have always been an avid runner and completed several marathons however it has been 20 years since my last. So I can’t wait to have the chance to run in New York while doing it on behalf of an organization that is now very personal to our family. Alina and I would greatly appreciate your support to get to our goal of $3,500 to help the Celiac Foundation accelerate diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for the three million Americans affected by celiac disease.
If you are interested in helping you can donate through our crowdrise page or if you wish to avoid any processing fees you can donate through www.celiac.org/donate. Please indicate my name and 2019 TCS NYC Marathon to ensure your donation is directed to our campaign. If your company has matching please don't forget submit a matching request to Celiac Disease Foundation, Woodland Hills California. Again mention my name and the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon.
I will post training updates periodically. Ali and I greatly appreciate your support.