Celiac Youth Support Group Formed In Southern Colorado

By: Marybeth Brush Email
By: Marybeth Brush Email

People suffering from Celiac disease can’t have gluten and they must eat gluten free in order to prevent health problems associated with the illness. Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread.

In Southern Colorado, there's a new support group for children and teens with Celiac disease. It's called the Celiac Youth Support Group and its goal is to help kids meet other kids with the disease and have a place where parents can share ideas.

French fries and hamburgers are not on 18-year-old Alyssia Garcia's diet. She has Celiac disease and up until recently would sometimes eat gluten, but now she’s trying not to. "It's a big change, I am used to going to McDonald's or something and eating out and now we have to be very specific," says Garcia.

Celiac disease is an inherited auto-immune deficiency with no cure. Alyssia’s mother, Victoria Garcia, has five children. They all have the disease. She is reaching out to other moms to help bring awareness to it.

Victoria is hoping their new Celiac Youth Support group will help out not only her family, but others too. "So, to have a group where she can come together and eat a snack together, really it may seem small but to her it's a big deal," says Melissa Keown. She has an eight-year-old daughter with the disease.

Now that Alyssia is managing her diet with gluten free food she is feeling better. "I've noticed that the side affects I had before, I didn't know they were related to gluten, and now I am a lot healthier," says Garcia.

Alyssia's sister also made a Celiac Kids Club magazine filled with games, recipes, puzzles and letters all to help Celiac kids live healthy.

For more information about the group you can contact Victoria Garcia at (719) 392-5983.

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