By Charlotte Cebula, Beyond Celiac Intern
ALBERTA—In her high school class Chinese Bilingual Leadership, teacher Sherry Wang of Lillian Osborne High School in Edmonton assigned her students a group project: research and present on diseases that are less well-known. One group selected celiac disease and delivered a compelling presentation. After all the projects were complete, the entire class voted to fundraise and raise awareness for celiac disease.
The fundraising project took place during the week of June 6th. Wang’s students sold gluten-free snacks and drinks each day at lunch. Ultimately, they raised $426.13, all of which was donated to Beyond Celiac for efforts to cure celiac disease.
Teachers like Sherry Wang are critical for our work at Beyond Celiac. One of the biggest problems facing the celiac disease community is misdiagnosis and misunderstanding. By encouraging students to research diseases that are less prevalent in the media, teachers are cultivating a more educated and sensitive generation when it comes to illnesses.
Sherry Wang’s project serves as a great example for how celiac disease advocacy fits into a classroom setting. Celiac disease research is not only a study of science, but also a study of public health and policy. Teachers: consider incorporating autoimmune diseases into your curriculum. Education is the first step toward creating a safer world, especially for those with health conditions. Students: voice your interest in autoimmune disease history, research, or advocacy to your teachers. Your input can have a great impact on the global celiac disease community.