Many doctors and dietitians consider the gluten free diet to be the most difficult diet in America. Why? Eating anywhere outside of our own kitchen is a challenge at best and our allowable margin of error in avoiding gluten is an unforgiving zero.
Wouldn't you like to get off of this merry-go-round? So would we.
But how can volunteering your time and resources to Gluten Free Lexington provide the answer to your gluten-related problems? Well, first consider these facts:
- Roughly 1% of the American population has celiac disease. This makes our cause at least as urgent as more popular causes such as breast cancer, autism or type 1 diabetes.
- A minimum 12% of the population has gluten sensitivity, but tests negative for celiac.
- A third portion of the population is affected by wheat allergies – another group whose needs are met on the gluten free diet.
But here’s the key statistic: even though the percentage of the affected population is at least in the teens - or roughly 40 million people - 95% of those people are undiagnosed! An estimated one-half of that population is dealing with symptoms. So nearly 20 million people are struggling with poor health, many are disabled and can’t even live a normal life, and they don’t even know why!
Now let's connect the dots: what if all 40 million people were diagnosed? What if 40 million people said to Congress, and to the medical and pharmaceutical community, and to the restaurant industry, and to the retail food industry, “We have a need, and we want answers!”
That is when your problems will be solved.
But who will awaken the 40 million who are still undiagnosed, if the medical community itself is still asleep, and the government and media remain too quiet? Volunteering for GFL will help to "wake the neighbors," because creating public awareness is our #1 goal, and creating public awareness is what will lead to the diagnosis of 40 million people – and bring an end to your gluten related problems!
What’s involved in volunteering? How big is the committment? It’s up to you. You will never be asked to do more than you can commit to. You set the limit, and we will stay within it.
What are the opportunities for involvement? This depends largely on the response we receive, but here are some examples:
- Join other volunteers in activities like food preparation, errands, phone calls, or meeting the public at awareness booths and public events.
- Are you a computer geek? Volunteer to help improve the GFL web site!
- Handy with a digital camera? Bring it to GFL events and provide our webmaster with photos of the event for the web site.
- Our greatest need this year is more volunteer leaders. We can always use more team leaders for planning, coordination and event leadership.
- Are you good with kids? Get involved in our youth programs.
- More volunteers would make new awareness activities possible.
- Like to eat out? We need “undercover investigators” to report about their dining experiences at restaurants that claim to cater to gluten-sensitive guests.
When will you be needed? What’s next? Again, the answer will be determined by the volunteer response. When you step up to volunteer, please be ready to say when and how often you are available, and also what talents, abilities, and experience you might have in any area, whether it’s hobbies, professional skills, material resources, or just two strong arms. To get started, fill out our Volunteer Form.
1(Hadjivassiliou M, Grunewald RA, Davies-Jones GA. ‘Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness.’ J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2002 May;72(5):560-3. See also: Ford, Rodney P. Which serological tests best identify gluten reactions? Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2009;Vol. 49, Suppl 1, p. E14. See also: Sapone A, Lammers K, Casolaro V, et al. Gluten sensitivity is associated to activation of the innate but not Th1/Th17 immune response to gluten exposure. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2009;Vol. 49, Suppl 1, p. E14. See also:Sturgeon C, Eaton, WW, Nicola C, et al. Schizophrenic patients present with increased prevalence of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2009;Vol. 49, Suppl 1, p. E12-E13.)