Healthy Living

Running for Celiac Disease

Running for Celiac Disease

High School Students Plan 5K to Raise Awareness Towards Life-Changing Disease

Running is a fantastic way to stay healthy.  It can also be a great way to give back to the community. Charity runs are a popular and many organizations are using them as a way to raise money and awareness for their cause. Most runs are funded by organizations who take any profits they get from racers and donors.  These profits are put towards treatments, cures, and research for the cause.

Celiac disease is gaining more awareness as more people are talking about it.  There are more people that are being diagnosed correctly and taking steps to making themselves healthier by avoiding gluten.  As Celiac disease still needs more research there are charity runs dedicated to this cause.  One is the 5K RAGE Against Celiac Disease. This race begins at eight in the morning on Sunday, June 25th.  It is taken place at the Danada Forest Preserve.  This race is the second of its kind.  It was founded by three students at Naperville North High School.  The students, Alex Morris, Haley Glowacki, and Megan Driscoll all have a background in running.

These girls are part of their schools cross county and track team.  They train themselves to be able to run long distances.  Running a 5K is a walk in the park for them.  Or a run in the prairie in this case.  These girls run 5K's as practice for their competitions during the school year.


The race is called RAGE which stands for Race for Answers to Gluten Enteropathy.  Alex originally founded the race for a bat mitzvah service project.  She wanted to create a fundraiser that was interactive and still raised money for the Celiac Disease Foundation.  The first race was held in 2014. With the success of the first race Alex is bring it back to raise more money and awareness for Celiac Disease.  While the race is for charity it is also to have fun.  It is not focused on being a competition.  All the racers are there to have a good time as they raise money.  It is a great way for the community to come together and support those that have Celiac disease.

The first race was able to raise almost ten thousand dollars.  There were over one hundred and fifty people that helped with the first race.  Alex was stunned by how many people were willing to make time for the race and help with the effort.  It motivated her to want to continue to organize events like this. Haley participated in the first race.  It was a organization that she cared about and wanted to help.  She did not know Alex at the time and didn't realize that a few years later she would be helping organize another race.

These girls are dedicated to this run because they have all been diagnosed with Celiac disease.  Celiac disease can greatly hinder how a person lives their life before a diagnosis.  When gluten is consumed by a person with Celiac their body reacts in an abnormal way.  Depending on the person their intestines and bowels can become inflamed and they may not be able to absorb the nutrients that they need.

Being Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

Fortunately for people who live with Celiac disease, the main change in their life is their diet.  The problem is getting to the diagnosis.  Since gluten is the cause of their discomfort and their inability to absorb nutrients it needs to be taken out of their diet.  A gluten-free diet is become widely popular, even for those that do not have a gluten intolerance. With this diet's rise in popularity it is very easy to find foods that are gluten-free.  Many grocery stores have areas dedicated to gluten-free items to save people the time of looking through the regular products.  More companies are aware that gluten is a problem for many of their consumers.

These companies are more clearly labeling their products if they contain gluten and if they do not.  Items that typically have gluten are being created to have no gluten using alternative ingredients.  There are many products readily available for those that wish to cut gluten out of their lives.    

One problem that many people run into is finding gluten-free products at restaurants, in schools, or at events.  In these areas people are typically not as aware that they should provide a gluten-free alternative for those that have gluten intolerance.  As more charities and organizations educate people there are more organizations that are taking gluten-free diets into consideration. 

Those with gluten intolerance like Alex, Haley, and Megan sometimes find it hard to speak up while out in a group.  They do not want to create a problem for the workers but it is a very big issue for any of them to consume products with gluten.  After eating a gluten product they will begin to have terrible stomach cramps that can last for hours.  It is comforting when there is more than one person that has an intolerance in the group. These teammates love that they can go out to eat together or purchase gluten-free foods for this race without as much hassle.  They do not have to worry that their requests are going to hold up the rest of the group since they all have the same request.  They like that their teammates always have a snack with them that they can eat without any worries. 

Second Race

The second Rage Against Celiac Disease race is taking place on Celiac Awareness Day.  This day is dedicated by the Naperville City Council.  This council has been working to be more involved with organizations that are doing charity work.  They have honored the girls for their dedication and hard work on this race. The race has a few different events depending on how far you would like to run.  The 5K costs $35 dollars to participate in.  There is a one mile walk that costs $25.  For any children that would like to participate there is a fifty yard dash that costs $15.  Anyone younger than seven can participate in the Silly Yak fifty yard dash. All of the profits from the race will go towards the Celiac Disease Foundation.  This foundation has been researching Celiac disease and hopes to create better treatments or even a cure for the disease.  Not only do the girls want to raise money but they hope to raise awareness.

Awareness is the key to helping others with Celiac disease find alternative foods to eat and even to get diagnosed.  Many people live with Celiac disease for a while before they learn what the issue is.  Without knowing to avoid gluten they consumes many gluten filled foods daily.  Which can not only create a lot of pain for them, but it can stop them from getting nutrients that are needed.

There has been a lot talk in the community about this race.  There are many people looking forward to participating and many people that are learning about Celiac disease.  The more people know about gluten intolerance the better it will be for people that are unable to eat gluten products.  Not only is there money from people participating in the race but the commutation has found around twenty sponsors.  These sponsors are helping to pay for what is needed to set up the race.  They are also providing snacks for all of the racers once they are done.  Gluten-free, of course.