Linda King: Vice President, Bi-State Celiac Support Group
From January 2008
This King is a queen! Linda King has earned a place as a member of celiac royalty!
This month, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is pleased to honor Linda King as the Awareness Advocate of the Month. While Linda does not have celiac disease herself, she has embraced this worthy cause enthusiastically and has incorporated it into her daily life.
Currently, Linda serves as Chair of the NFCA Gluten-Free Cooking Spree scheduled for February 26th at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Center in St. Louis. Linda has worked hard to ensure that this Cooking Spree will be an exciting evening in which top area chefs team with local doctors and reporters to prepare delicious gluten-free food.
Linda's commitment to the celiac community is best demonstrated by her role as Vice President of the Bi-State Celiac Support Group. Like many others, Linda and her family found very little support for the newly diagnosed celiac. There was no one to teach them the "ins and outs" of the gluten-free diet. As a result, Linda knows the value that a support group can bring to those who are seeking to "restore their health and reclaim their lives". The Bi-State Celia Support group boasts 500 members who share their news about celiac disease and enjoy the fun of new approaches to supplement the support group meetings. Their Dinner Club has taken the group to new restaurants and is a huge success.
A short 5 ½ years ago, Linda's husband Ken was diagnosed with celiac disease. When their children started on the gluten-free diet three years ago, Linda joined them making the King household entirely gluten-free.
As we all know, gaining a correct diagnosis is not always easy or cut and dried. Ken's first blood test was negative. Through a biopsy, he learned that had celiac disease. As a precaution, Linda and Ken had their children tested for celiac disease. Again, the test results were negative. Over the next year, Linda observed a number of unexpected illnesses and strange symptoms in her children, including eczema and nosebleeds. Thanks to a cousin working as a medical doctor in the testing industry, the King children had stool tests. Next stop: a gluten-free diet for the entire King family. Kellen and Brendan, eight-year old twins, along with Megan, age 10, "took the transition beautifully". In fact, Linda was inspired by their approach to their new lifestyle.
Asked what her dream is for those with celiac, Linda had a ready answer. When her children are adults, she wants the celiac community to be "normalized" and integrated into the full fabric of American life.
As Linda looks to the future, she notes that her children give her hope. The celiac world is changing for the better. She credits NFCA with having a big role in the increase in awareness over the past few years. It is this progress that makes her continue to volunteer and to work toward even greater gains in the rate of diagnosis, education available for healthcare professionals, and the entry of more gluten-free products into the American food chain.
Inspiration and hope! Linda, you inspire us! You are a queen!