By Cheryl McEvoy, Online Content Manager at NFCA
Hi there! I’m Cheryl. I run the website for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) - including Kids Central. While I don’t have celiac disease, I’ve met lots of celiac and gluten-free kids through my work at NFCA.
I know how hard it can be to stay gluten-free, especially when your friends are eating regular gluten-y food. But I also know you kids can do amazing things because you’re healthier on a gluten-free diet!
Here are 5 awesome accomplishments by gluten-free kids:
1. Aiming for the Olympics
Superstar skiier AJ Clemens became one of NFCA’s Athletes for Awareness when he was in high school. AJ competes in ski races across the country. He wants to compete in the Winter Olympics in the future. We’ll root for him when he does!
2. Helping Restaurants Be GREAT and Gluten-Free
Last year, Darian Greenfield (now 13) wanted to make eating at restaurants easier for kids with celiac disease. Darian has celiac, so he knows how important it is to eat gluten-free. As part of his Bar Mitzvah project, he asked restaurants to take a class from NFCA called GREAT Kitchens so the chefs and waiters could learn how to cook and serve gluten-free food. Way to take charge!
3. Writing a Book
Nick Schmitz was only 7 years old when he wrote a kids book about celiac disease with his mom. Nick & the Shrinking Inner Spaceship is a fun way to teach other kids about celiac disease. It’s on our Reading List!
4. Winning a Pageant
16-year-old Kayla Lafi has celiac disease, but that doesn’t stop her from entering pageants. She even won Miss New Jersey Teen 2011! Kayla finds lots of good gluten-free food when she travels. She also has met other gluten-free kids at pageants.
5. Walking for Awareness
Evey Bell has celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, which means it’s even harder to find food that’s safe. But that doesn’t get her down. In fact, she and her mom lead a group called “Team Celiac” that does lots of activities, like fundraising walks. She’s even been interviewed on the news!
See? You can do incredible things. Just remember to stay gluten-free - it gives you the energy you need to make a difference!