Advocate for Awareness: Eliana Actor-Engel
From February 2009
Every month, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is pleased to recognize an individual in the community for outstanding dedication to raising awareness of celiac disease. This month, the NFCA is pleased and proud to introduce you to Eliana Actor-Engel.
Eliana is a student, a current Bat Mitzvah candidate, and the NFCA's newest volunteer!
When Eliana was younger, she was almost always the shortest student in her class. Last year, her mother decided it was time to take her to the growth clinic at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. A series of tests showed that Eliana, in fact, has celiac disease.
Being young and attending school meant having to do a lot of explaining to her friends and teachers about what celiac is and why she can't eat certain foods. Camp was also difficult for Eliana because she had to have a special meal and couldn't enjoy the yummy desserts being served to the other campers.
Today, Eliana says, although she struggled with temptation in the beginning, her diet has made all the difference and she has grown about two inches since she began eating gluten-free. And, after experiencing the frustrations of having to explain celiac and her diet over and over, Eliana has decided to take the initiative. She has taken it upon herself to become involved with the NFCA so that she can help raise awareness about this disease that affects her, and millions of other Americans.
Eliana will be helping us streamline our database management system so that getting the word out is an organized breeze! She will begin her volunteer work in the coming weeks and we are so grateful to have her!
Thanks Eliana, you are truly a celiac awareness rock star!