I looked in the mirror and staring back at me were dark, sunken eyes, purple lips, and boils all over my body; my favorite foods had turned against me….
In this snippet from Erin Raines’ debut book, Recipes for a New Life: Surviving Celiac Disease, she describes the shocking details of her physical complications right before her Celiac disease diagnosis. She is not alone. Many members of the Cleveland community are silently suffering from similar complications without knowing the cause. The disease has made an impact in all cultural demographics. As a result, Raines’ 2014 diagnosis has created a passion and purpose in her that now positively impact the Cleveland community.
Celiac disease, which ranks third of the nine most common digestive diseases, is a severe autoimmune disorder that causes damage in the small intestines due to the ingestion of gluten. Some cases have proven to be genetic. In an effort to educate and advise the community on best practices for early food allergy detection, Raines became a motivational speaker on developing a healthy lifestyle and eating habits. She also contacted the National Celiac Association and began the process of establishing a Cleveland chapter. What better time to do so than May, National Celiac Awareness month?
“For years, I was misdiagnosed, and I don’t want anyone else to experience the same problem. Telling my story has helped me come in contact with others who have similar issues and has resulted in early prevention cases. I feel that I have made a difference,” says Raines.
The mission of the Cleveland Celiac Association is to educate and advocate for individuals with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivities, their families, and communities throughout Cleveland. They plan to provide suggestions for gluten-free recipes, restaurants, and products, along with other pertinent resources for members of the Cleveland celiac community.
The Cleveland Chapter open house was held at the Cuyahoga County Orange Public Library in the Hope and Stanley Adelstein Room on Saturday, May 18. If you or someone you know suffers from celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, come to the open house for information on the available resources.
For information on upcoming Cleveland Celiac Association chapter events and the resources the chapter will provide, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.