Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassadors empower the celiac community by providing outlets to share experiences, spread positivity and create change in their communities.
I began volunteering with Beyond Celiac in 2019 and am excited to join the team as a Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassador. After my celiac disease diagnosis initially left me feeling isolated, I found community in sharing my story and hearing the stories of other people affected by celiac disease. I hope to continue sharing stories, creating community, and working together to find a cure with Beyond Celiac. I also love to cook (gluten-free, of course!) enjoy the outdoors, and am a competitive distance runner. I graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Mathematics and work in the Financial Technology industry as a Product Manager. I am based in New York City.
I have deep experience connecting brands to customers across a range of industries. As a marketing communications executive, I have worked to develop leading global brands for advertising agencies and corporations. I also have more than a decade of experience supporting local communities, including patients with a variety of autoimmune diseases. I am passionate about celiac disease, as it has a personal impact on my family. I have been fortunate to learn from experts at celiac disease centers of excellence in New York and Chicago, where I worked with leading doctors and nutritionists and attended many celiac education conferences. I am grateful to be an Ambassador for Beyond Celiac so that I can continue to build awareness of celiac disease, provide support for patients and their families, and work to advance research for a cure. I live in the Chicago area, where I continue to finesse my skills in making great-tasting gluten-free meals for my family.
Confused. Upset. Afraid. These were all things I felt when I received my diagnosis as a 17-year-old high schooler. Coming from a small, rural, Midwest community, I felt all alone in my diagnosis. My family had never even heard of “celiac” let alone known someone living with it. Being in my early 20’s now, I feel like there is a chance for me to advocate for advancing research to find a cure, as well as be outspoken to let others with celiac know that you can live a very full and adventurous life. Becoming a Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassador gives me that chance to be the voice for the undiagnosed, a source of lived experience for the newly diagnosed, and a reminder of the limitless opportunities for the seasoned veterans.
I was born and raised in Wyoming and have been practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor for 10 years. I currently serve as the Director of Counseling at our local community college and love getting to work with students around mental health and personal growth. I am married to an awesome man and we have 2 beautiful daughters. I am a CrossFit enthusiast and very much into nutrition and holistic wellness. A year ago our oldest daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, right before her 2nd birthday. This was a lot to navigate as we learn what this diagnosis will mean for her future. We are finding all the ways to be proactive in helping her live gluten-free and stay positive, while also allowing ourselves to navigate the challenges that come with this diagnosis. It’s always a balance. I am excited to help others in the celiac community through Beyond Celiac. I would love to support others in learning the details of living a gluten-free life, but also on navigating the wide range of emotions that come with having a celiac diagnosis or supporting someone who does.
Symptoms of celiac disease began appearing in my life in my early twenties as I was engulfed in training and competing professionally in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and primarily focused on my health. Because I was an athlete and so cautious of what I put into my body, it took several years to go to the right doctor to get diagnosed. After diagnosis, my life changed, because I went so long undiagnosed my body needed a lot of help to recover from this serious disease. I ended up being diagnosed with Refractory Celiac Disease and a multitude of other food allergies. Throughout this journey, I have felt alone, been fed misleading information, and am here today to help make sure that stops happening. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that people should feel they have a solid support system in and confidence that they can trust the information given to them on how to heal. I am so happy to give my energy and time into helping anyone who’s struggling with this disease and look forward to doing my part in making way for a cure!
My name is Jaime and I live in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. I was diagnosed with celiac disease 20 years ago after losing an incredible amount of weight while eating everything in sight. Luckily, my doctor’s wife had celiac so he took one look at me and suggested I get tested. At the time, no one really knew what celiac disease was and there were limited gluten-free foods at my disposal. It was a long, difficult road but I have come so far since then. You don’t realize how all aspects of life revolve around food until you can’t eat whatever you choose. It is still a constant struggle, but I now have more resources to get through those tough times. My oldest son, now 14, was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 3. My struggles all came flowing back, but they were exacerbated because I had to figure out how to keep my child safe and healthy throughout numerous aspects of his life. It was one thing to go through those alienating feelings on my own, but it was a whole different ballgame when it affected my young son. As the gluten-free industry started to ramp up, and the general public began learning about celiac, I had numerous friends ask to share my info with people who were newly diagnosed. Helping complete strangers navigate through a diagnosis of celiac disease gave me purpose and hope. I am eager to help others affected by celiac disease. I am SO excited to go on this journey with Beyond Celiac to help as many people as possible. If I can take away the feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety from even just one person/family, that is a win for me! Beyond Celiac gives me hope for a cure and I am “beyond” thrilled to be part of such an amazing organization.
Hi everyone, my name is Laura Mason! I am a high school student from Clarksville, Maryland. I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was eight years old after years of being undiagnosed with severe symptoms. I enjoy traveling, playing field hockey and softball, and trying new recipes. I am very excited to be a part of the Reach Beyond Celiac team, and to advocate and provide resources for others with this disease!
Hey there, I’m Lauren! I live in San Francisco. My journey with celiac started 4 years ago when I was diagnosed after months of symptoms and pain. Like many people, I was both relieved and overwhelmed with this news. To add to that, I was preparing to move to Spain to teach English! I dove into research and learned how to say “I have celiac disease” in Spanish (it’s easy: Soy celiaca/o). Luckily, my experience living abroad was not hindered by having celiac disease. I traveled extensively and learned so much about researching, communicating and advocating for my needs. It was through this experience that I became even more passionate about gluten-free living and helping others. I’m honored to be a part of Reach Beyond Celiac, and hope that I can help others find their voice and feel comfortable in their gluten-free life.
Hello, my name is Linda and I live outside of Atlanta, GA. My husband and I are recent empty nesters, with two sons. Fifteen years ago, as we were opening our first Little Caesars franchise, I was extremely ill for about three months, losing almost 30 pounds very quickly. I thought for sure I had cancer. After many tests, doctor visits, blood work, colonoscopies and finally an endoscope that gave me my celiac diagnosis. I had no idea what celiac disease was and how my diet was about to make a 360-degree turnaround. Back in 2006, not much info was available, my doctor told me to eat gluten-free and come back in six months. So, what was gluten-free? At that time, there were no labels at the grocery store or on food products, no special menus, little to no awareness in the community—it was a lonely spot. I remember bringing a special card with instructions to a restaurant and my friend’s embarrassment of my special request as well as my first time to a grocery store, so overwhelmed I cried in the aisle reading label after label. My hope is that I can share my story with others and what I have learned over the last 15 years about digestive issues as well as other autoimmune diseases. I also hope that we can work together to find a cure for these types of diseases that affect so many. I want folks to know that you can have a full and healthy lifestyle while managing symptoms and that this is not a death sentence. Now let us get to work and find a cure!
Hi, I’m Rachel, foodie and dog lover! Being diagnosed with celiac disease at age 10 has given me the confidence to advocate for myself and others with dietary restrictions. As a Reach Beyond Ambassador, I hope to help people become more confident in living with celiac disease!
My name is Tjuanika. I enjoy visiting museums, reading, and roller skating. After working in various roles within a large corporation, I decided to return to school to complete my degree in Public Health. My mission is to help improve disparities amongst all groups by promoting health equity. Being a team member of Beyond Celiac is important to me because it will allow me to educate and promote awareness about celiac disease.
I’m Valerie and I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, two daughters and a golden retriever. When my daughter (then six years old) was first diagnosed in 2018, the journey seemed insurmountable. After much research, label reading, experimenting in the kitchen and genuine “learn as you go” experience, I’ve become a self-described expert on how to advocate and care for my family while navigating this autoimmune disease. Joining the ambassador team was a natural next step toward helping others on their journey, whether they’ve been personally diagnosed or serve as a caretaker or friend of someone affected by celiac disease. I believe in a world that looks at life beyond celiac disease – where a cure leads so many individuals to a fully healthy life.
Our Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassadors focus on inclusion, establishing personal connections and building supportive networks for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity at every stage of life.
Ambassadors to tailor the program to their unique passions and skills – using tools and resources provided by Beyond Celiac. Ambassadors work both independently and collaboratively on initiatives designed to drive Beyond Celiac’s mission forward. The will is engaging and has significant social impact while building leadership, strategic planning, collaboration and other skills. If you are energetic, intelligent, and full of big ideas…and you want to make a difference in the world…please apply today!
For more than 15 years, Beyond Celiac has been the leading patient advocacy and research-driven celiac disease organization working to drive diagnosis, advance research, and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure.
By engaging with the top scientists in the field, awarding research grants, and supporting the community, Beyond Celiac envisions a world in which people with celiac disease can live healthy lives and eat without fear – a world Beyond Celiac.
Our ambassadors play an essential role in allowing us to create awareness and amplify the Beyond Celiac mission.