For those of you who may not be aware, May is officially Celiac Awareness Month.
Naturally, the U.S. Senate declared a National Celiac Day in September.
Yeah…I know. Don’t ask.
So I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a unique way to celebrate our month. Last year, I posted 31 blogs in 31 days. By May 31st, I joined a long list of people who were officially sick of me. So I won’t be repeating that venture (although to be honest, I did enjoy the challenge.)
Then I got to thinking…what exactly does it mean to “raise celiac awareness”?
Is it simply writing a blog about our disease?
Is it sharing your gluten-free recipes so celiacs can expand their limited palate a bit?
Is it selling t-shirts and other celiac-related items to help spread the word?
Is it opening your own gluten-free bakery where celiacs can feel completely safe?
Is it developing your own brand of gluten-free flour or gluten-free labels to help those in the community?
Is it organizing monthly meetups for your fellow celiacs so we can all learn from and lean on each other?
Is it training people who are struggling how to live completely gluten free?
The answer to all of the above questions is a resounding yes.
And there are a group of amazing celiacs out there who are doing exactly these things…every day.
You know who you are. Take a bow.
And for those of you who think you are raising celiac awareness by peddling or promoting crappy gluten free products simply to line your pockets, that ain’t awareness. You also know who you are. Hang your head in shame.
I’d like to think the little community that we have created here at GlutenDude.com has done a credible job at raising celiac awareness. After all, that is what we’re all about.
My goal, first and foremost, is to help my fellow celiacs. And I do that through brutal honesty.
I hate having this disease. And I know a lot of you hate it too. And I don’t raise awareness by blowing sunshine up your butts and telling you that life with celiac disease is a beautiful thing.
But I also won’t let you wallow in your sorrow either. You’ve got the disease. Buck up and move forward.
I raise celiac awareness by throwing jabs at the media who constantly seem to get our disease totally wrong; by calling out companies and personalities who are strictly in it for the profit; by tackling the tough issues like why Channing Tatum went gluten free (yes…that’s sarcasm).
My point is, while it’s nice to have a month to put a special focus on celiac disease, true awareness is a 12 month gig.
So while I do have some things planned for this month that go above and beyond this website, I will continue to do what I’ve always done; this month, next month and as long as I’m able and willing.
We have made great strides in raising celiac awareness but we have a long way to go to convince the medical community and the public that our disease is one that needs to be taken as seriously as other autoimmune diseases.
I hope you continue with me on our journey.