I found this article interesting regarding Tuesday’s National Celiac Disease Awareness Day….of course the headline was grabbing “Be Aware of Celiac Disease. Just Today Though.”
The first few sentences in the Dallas Observer article are jarring,
“The U.S. Senate has officially declared today National Celiac Disease Awareness Day. So, we all need to stop at some point and think about our annoying friends who can’t eat anything because … OK. OK. You’re not annoying. Your disease is annoying. And, honestly, we hate it for you.”
The article then offers a link to information on where to eat gluten free in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, mentions that 3 million people have celiac, and that there is no cure except for lifelong adherence to a gluten free diet. The article ends with a quip, “So, whip up a batch of gluten-free brownies for your bestest celiac buddies and celebrate this day with them. Maybe even create a gluten-free macaroni-art card with a picture of a small intestine. If that doesn’t cheer them up, then nothing will.”
Okay….so I thought the article did what we all would intend for it to do — grab someone’s attention and then give them actual information.
It actually came from the point of view of the “friends” or outsider. This frustration from the person who DOESN’T have celiac, has happened to me. Sometimes I am more upset by the fact that her celiac never takes a break than SHE is (ie, her Home Ec class, or a surprise pizza party her teacher should have informed me of).
In this case, it was the headline that made me say, “Why would anyone say such a thing?” Then I clicked in and read further. The attention-grabbing comments appear to be offensive to some.
One person said, “For anyone who makes fun of this, I hope your children get it. ”
Another said, “Did you not think how folks in the gluten free community would feel about this article? No one asks for Celiac Disease. Articles like this demonstrate people’s ignorance on having to eat gluten free and why Celiac Diaseas Awareness Day is needed – to try to teach people to be kind. ”
A third said, “this is a horrible article!! I suffer from Celiac Disease and I don’t sit in isolation, nor do my friends find me annoying!! This is a serious disease, with serious side effects. We reconize this disease DAILY not just one day! Your writing style comes across just ignorant! Try again ! ”
Most of those comments are accurate (well except for the first one), but clearly angry.
I came from a different perspective and had to comment– however I am sort of waiting for one of those angry comments to be directed toward me for saying it. I felt my comment was informative and hopeful with a “kill them with kindness” attitude. Here’s my comment in its entirety….was I wrong?
I understand what the writer is getting to here. That it’s a little
tongue-in-cheek– and it grabbed your attention. Plus, we did get a
little awareness out of it, of which we might normally not have gotten.
As a serious point, I will say celiac, is a tough disease that can do
serious damage to the body (cancer, infertility, liver disease &
more) unless you do this big lifestyle change which is the strict gluten
However, if you’re going to have a disease or a life altering health
condition, this isn’t as dire as the writer suggests. Yes it can cramp
your style when dining out. But it doesn’t impede your regular mobility
such as Parkinson’s, it doesn’t affect your brain like Alzheimer’s, you
don’t have to take one ounce of medication — like Type 1 Diabetes,
Multiple Sclerosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, which are fellow
autoimmune diseases, and you’re not undergoing radiation or chemotherapy
from cancer (unless, perhaps, you have the aforementioned damage caused
by celiac). All of these diseases can have devastating outcomes.
Celiac, on the other hand, just needs the diet and dedication to living
gluten free. My daughter is a perfectly healthy 12 year old who plays
on an elite soccer team. She was diagnosed with celiac disease at 15
months old, and many people on her team have no idea she has celiac
(however they’ll learn much more after traveling to some upcoming
tournaments with her).
Thanks for spreading the awareness!
Let me know what you think by commenting below or reading the article and commenting there.