Hi I'm Makeyli and I'm 10 years old. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease when I was 7 after years of doctor appointments, tests, broken bones, and trying to figure out why my body wasn't working and growing like other kids my age. Today, I am strong, healthy, thriving, and living a wonderful gluten-free life thanks to Children's Hospital and the Colorado Center for Celiac disease, especially their doctors and dietitians!
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects up to 1-3% of the population. Kids with Celiac disease can have poor growth, nutrient deficiencies, and gastrointestinal symptoms, and much more. At the Colorado Center for Celiac Disease, they diagnose over 400 kids with Celiac disease every year, and their doctors, nurses, dietitians, and psychologist provide multidisciplinary care.
Currently the only treatment for Celiac disease is a strict, lifelong, gluten-free diet. Despite this, many insurances unfortunately do not cover a dietitian visit for patients with Celiac disease. Starting the gluten-free diet can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming, so it is essential to have the support of a dietitian with Celiac disease expertise. Some kids, like me, have food allergies too. A dietitian is extremely helpful to guide and direct patients to safe, healthy foods and yummy recipes that help kids with Celiac grow and thrive.
My team and I, the Wheatless Warriors, are raising funds to enable all children to have gluten-free diet education and support, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay out of pocket. We're rasing money to provide access for all kids with Celiac disease to consult a dietitian and hope to expand gluten free food resources through organizations such as the Food Equality Initative and food banks in Colorado. Gluten free products can be extremely expensive, sometimes 2-3x more expensive than regular gluten containing products. We want to lessen that buren and come alongside families in need that have a child with Celiac disease.
Thank you for caring and joining me to make sure all kids with Celiac diesease get the help they need to eat and live gluten free!