Our Celiac disease journey began on April 22, 2018. My youngest daughter's symptoms manifested in multiple ways but none as alarming as the severe separation anxiety she began experiencing several weeks prior to diagnosis. Before understanding her physical struggle with the disease, I sent her to school for the remaining six weeks of 3rd grade and the principal, counselors, various staff members and teachers would physically restrain her as I walked away listening to her scream, “Don’t leave me in this prison, mommy!” In contrast, prior to those final 6-weeks of absolute hell, she was social, friendly and enjoyed going to school and events. But in our darkest days, she would draw pictures of herself as an angel while I stood beside her lifeless body asking, “Why so soon?” I didn’t know how to help, or what was wrong.
My own angel stepped in—a counselor who was "filling in" one day at her school—and suggested I see an immunologist for disease testing. We started by doing an extensive blood panel. On April 22, I remember the relief and fear wash over me when the PA explained that Sienna was positive in both genes for Celiac and her IgE results were >100. She could not say for certain that the Celiac was causing the anxiety, however, she highly recommended 'treating' her as soon as possible. The only treatment is diet.
After much education and three years later, she no longer feels like she is going to die every morning—a feeling I once thought was only associated with her anxiety. Her mental health is significantly stronger but not strong enough to completely take away her anxiety.
Changing our diet has been the easiest part of the journey thanks to Children's Hospital of Colorado and our insurance. However, not everyone is as fortunate to receive the critical education to treat this life long disease and prevent further damage.
I am asking that you please consider making a donation to our Courage Classic team, the Wheatless Warriors. We are raising money to provide scholarships for all families to be able to get a comprehensive gluten-free education at diagnosis, even when insurance doesn't cover it. In addition, the monies that we raise will also be used to help support families in need with the cost of gluten-free food through organizations such as Food Equality Initiative.
Thank you for considering this cause.