I almost forgot that today is Celiac Awareness Day—the birthday of celiac disease research pioneer Samuel Gee!
How might one celebrate this event? Well, having just covered the recent webinar about Gluten in Medication led by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), I figure it's a good time to mention that the group is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to raise $45,000 by September 24, 2008. A donor will match that amount, raking in $90,000 for the NFCA.
A nice thing about this effort is that the NFCA's Vanessa Maltin has described some of the ways the money would be used. Helpful!
Just to give you an idea of where the money will go, here are a few of the programs:You can donate here.
*Gluten in Medications.* Do you know all of the ingredients in all of the medicines that you take? Probably not! Current United States regulations do NOT require manufacturers to label the inactive ingredients in drugs. These inactive substances are called excipients and can be any one of a number of starches including wheat, corn, potato or tapioca. To help the celiac community and medical professionals understand the problem of gluten in medications, the NFCA partnered with the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Together, our groups have held two educational sessions for doctors and pharmacists and have created resources for both patients and medical professionals.
*School Lunches.* Are you the parent of a child with celiac? If so, this resource is for you! With the help of the United States Department of Agriculture, the NFCA developed guidelines to help children and parents navigate their school's meal program. The guidelines explain federal laws and provide step-by-step instructions for getting a child special gluten-free meals at school. Additionally, the NFCA is working with an amazing group of school nurses and school psychologists to create a Getting Started Guide for Teachers to help ensure that every child is safe in the classroom.
*Related Diseases.* Celiac disease is directly related to several other diseases and conditions. The NFCA has worked with leading researchers and organizations to provide the latest information on how celiac disease and the gluten-free diet is related to these conditions. Diseases include: Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Type 1 Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Infertility, Osteoporosis, Depression, Sjogren's Disease, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Intestinal Cancer, Peripheral Neuropathy, Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, William Syndrome, Liver disease and migraine headaches.
*Lifestyle Improvment Webinars:* The NFCA is working with a variety of professionals to bring you two sets of lifesytle seminars. All are available free of charge and can be viewed by anyone in the world! All you need is a working internet connection and a computer! There are two sessions every month. One is for New Patients. The others will be a variety of cooking lessons that will teach you to best utilize gluten-free products! Get excited!!
*Athletes for Awareness:* The NFCA has pulled together some of the top Athletes with celiac disease to bring you the Athletes for Awareness blog and PSA. Every month these 4 superstar athletes will share their stories of living with celiac disease while participating in competitive sports.