I’m starting a series featuring incredible kids bringing attention and awareness to Celiac Disease. I couldn’t be more excited to start with this amazing young woman: Tori Bergstein, a high school Senior in Vermont who created Spin for Celiac, a fundraiser taking place on September 17th in Vermont with all proceeds benefiting the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.
Full disclosure: Tori’s mom was one of the first people I met after my son was diagnosed with celiac disease and my son’s gastroenterologist is at the Columbia University Celiac Disease Center so this story holds a special place in my heart.
Tori’s sister, Rachel, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was 5 years old, and has lived with the disease for 9 years. Tori created the Spin for Celiac fundraiser as part of a school service project. Her school requires all seniors to do a “graduation challenge” where they take on any project that interests them and expands their learning into the real world.
Tori chose to create this fundraiser for her project because “my sister Rachel is one of the most special people in my life, so when I decided to take on this project, I wanted to connect my love for my sister, with my pride in the community’s amazing array of gluten-free products, as well as my interest in a career in medicine”. She also hopes for “Celiac awareness to spread and for people everywhere to donate to the Center to fund their important research, whether that’s through a spin-a-thon or other means of fundraising.”
What’s Celiac Disease? Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease whereby the body cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley or rye. Even trace amounts of gluten can trigger a response that severely inhibits the body from absorbing the nutrients in food. There are severe long-term health issues if left untreated. In the United States, as many as 3 million people have Celiac Disease, and even with all the new diagnoses it is estimate that as many as 80% of that number remain undiagnosed.
Spin for Celiac Details
The spin-a-thon will take place on September 17th and consists of five one-hour spin sessions. Tori only started promoting this event and has a goal of raising $10,000 with about 100 spinning participants. So far she’s raised over $3000. So if you’re in the Essex VT area, and want to participate, sign up for a spin session. If you’re not in the area or not into spinning you can still donate to this fundraiser.
I don’t know Tori personally but I’m super proud of this celiac sister and her Grad project and happy to help her with her goal for raising awareness and funds for Celiac Disease.
If you have any suggestions for future Celiac Kids features, message me at Karen@healthygffamily.com