Jack is 13 years old and has celiac disease.
Jack didn't have many symptoms, so he was lucky to get diagnosed. Now he's one of NFCA's Awareness All-Stars and is fundraising to help other kids with celiac disease.
[See Jack's fundraising page.]
When were you diagnosed? What were your symptoms?
About 2 years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It was really lucky that the doctors found out I had the disease. I am part of a very small percentage of people who do not have the typical symptoms. Other than being small for my age, I really felt just fine. My mom had my pediatrician check my blood because she wanted a real thorough check up. She had a feeling something was not right. We were really surprised when it came back that I had celiac disease.
What's the hardest part about being gluten-free?
The hardest part about being gluten-free is going out to dinner. But it's really not that hard if you think about dessert because there is a lot of desserts you can eat. Otherwise, to me there is nothing really that is hard. I try to think about all of the positives.
What's the best part about being gluten-free?
The best part about being gluten-free is that you start to grow and feel healthier. Also going to celiac camp and seeing all my celiac friends.
What would you tell a kid who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease?
One piece of advice I would give is to think of the positives of having celiac and not the negatives. There are a lot of good things. For instance, you feel better, get more desserts, and if you go to camp you can see all of your friends, and if you don’t go to camp you can ask your parents and then look forward to it.
What do you like to do for fun?
There are a lot of things I do. And just because you have celiac doesn’t mean you can' do other fun things. I go to camp celiac. I am a big fishermen. I fish almost every day or every chance I get. I also play flag football and middle school soccer. My favorite would have to be fishing.
What's your favorite gluten-free food?
There are many gluten-free foods, but my favorite is an egg salad sandwich on a Schar gluten-free baguette.
I also like T.G.I. Friday's for dinner and Chik-Fil-A. Friday’s has a gluten-free menu and Chik-Fil-A has french fries that are okay to eat because they have no coating and are fried separately. They also have a grilled chicken patty that is so good with a milkshake.