Beyond Celiac Celebrates 20 Years of Service

May 2, 2023

May 2023 marks Celiac Awareness Month and the 20th anniversary of Beyond Celiac! Yes, you read that right—two whole decades of tireless service to the celiac disease and gluten-free community. This milestone is not just a mere number, but a testament to our organization’s unwavering commitment towards empowering and advocating for those affected by celiac disease. As we raise a gluten-free toast to this remarkable achievement, which we couldn’t have done without the support of our amazing community, let’s take a moment to reflect on our journey and revel in the magnificent milestones we have achieved so far. From pioneering patient advocacy to driving cutting-edge research, we have been at the forefront of the celiac disease movement. 

As we look back on the past twenty years, we can’t help but feel proud of our accomplishments as the premier patient-advocacy organization for celiac disease. Without further ado, let’s take a glance at our highlight reel – a glimpse of some of the many awe-inspiring achievements that have shaped our journey!

20 Years of Service – 20 of our Notable Achievements

  1. Driven by her desire to help others get diagnosed early, Alice Bast defies experts and lands a grant from the National Institutes of Health and Beyond Celiac is born!
  2. Ed Snider, founder of the Philadelphia Flyers, becomes the first Beyond Celiac Board Member.
  3. Beyond Celiac launches the first ever National Awareness Campaign with Heidi Collins of CNN as our spokeswoman and in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, which resulted in increasing testing for celiac disease by 40%.
  4. Beyond Celiac launches the first celiac disease Continuing Medical Education Program, training 900 medical professionals and resulting in an estimated 6,000 new diagnoses.
  5. Beyond Celiac leads the way in making gluten-free food available and more affordable with the launch of the first ever gluten-free expo, Appetite for Awareness. Events held in 6 cities across the country in partnerships with Walmart, Whole Foods, Wegmans and more lead to the explosion of gluten-free packaged goods available everywhere.
  6. Beyond Celiac partners with Anheuser-Busch to launch the first ever mainstream gluten-free product into the marketplace, Redbridge gluten-free beer.
  7. Beyond Celiac is the first patient advocacy organization to adopt a social media strategy, joining Facebook in October 2009 and reaching 100,000 supporters by 2014 then quickly expanding to YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.
  8. Beyond Celiac launches GREAT Kitchens and hosts the first Gluten-Free pavilion at the National Restaurant Association annual convention, resulting in driving restaurant interest in gluten-free offerings nationwide.
  9. Beyond Celiac launches the first-ever family testing initiative, Seriously Celiac Disease PSA and the Talk. Tell. Test. campaign.
  10. Beyond Celiac, working with the FDA, partners with the best gluten-free product certification in North America, the Gluten-Free Certification Program, so our community can have safe and accurate gluten-free food labeling.
  11. Beyond Celiac spearheads a study with a grant from the FDA demonstrating that gluten in medications is a significant issue for the celiac disease community that needs to be addressed, and launches the GREAT Pharmacists training program.
  12. Alice Bast and other Beyond Celiac leaders share our needs and concerns with leading policymakers and researchers nationally and internationally at the FDA GREAT3 workshop in Washington DC and the 14th International Coeliac Meeting.
  13. Beyond Celiac holds the first multi-disciplinary celiac disease Research Summit, putting patients at the center of research.
  14. Beyond Celiac presents our innovative patient engagement model to improve celiac disease diagnosis rates at Stanford Medicine X, an annual gathering about the future of medicine and the role technology plays in improving health.
  15. Beyond Celiac creates a patient registry for people with celiac disease and their families, Go Beyond Celiac.
  16. Beyond Celiac becomes the first and only advocacy organization to launch a science department and hire a CSO and convene the first annual Beyond Celiac Research Symposium.
  17. Beyond Celiac awards grants for three celiac disease research projects and presents our own research on brain fog at the 2019 International Celiac Disease Symposium.
  18. The COVID-19 pandemic brings the world to a halt, and Beyond Celiac pivots to provide information to the community. We release surveys through our patient registry Go Beyond Celiac to learn more about how COVID affects the celiac disease community specifically. 
  19. Beyond Celiac continues with its dedication to research and awards a grant to a research team from Sheffield, UK, who previously found that gluten can cause brain changes in those with celiac disease.
  20. We hosted another Research Symposium, bringing together leaders in research and clinical practice to discuss the future of celiac disease.
  21. Bonus—In 2023, we have already granted five research awards, becoming the leading organization funding celiac disease research. The rest of the year is sure to bring even more progress for the research community!

Shaping the Future of our Community

As we continue our journey toward treatments and a cure, we can’t help but be filled with excitement and anticipation. What new breakthroughs and advancements will we witness? Which groundbreaking celiac disease treatment currently in clinical trials will finally be approved by the FDA? The possibilities are endless, and we can’t wait to witness them unfold!

Before we wrap up, we would like to take a moment to express our sincerest gratitude to you, our beloved community. It is your unwavering support and resilience that has fueled our passion for advocating and empowering those affected by celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. You are the reason why we do what we do – to ensure that no one ever feels alone or overlooked in their celiac journey. We share your vision of a world Beyond Celiac, where timely diagnosis, proper follow-up, access to safe food, and diverse treatment options are the norm.

If you would like to join us in this mission, there are several ways to get involved. You can donate directly to support our work, sign up for our patient registry to contribute to vital research, or attend our events like virtual Town Halls or Step Beyond Celiac 5Ks. Every little action counts, and together, we can make a significant impact in the lives of those affected by celiac disease.

Once again, thank you for being a part of our journey. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and the celiac disease community!

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