Letter from Alice: You’re at the Heart of What We Do
When I founded Beyond Celiac in 2003, I did so with one, overarching goal in mind: to help celiac disease patients live healthier lives, longer.
In the early days of Beyond Celiac, my focus was reaching people where they were; in 2003, few people knew what a gluten-free diet was, let alone had heard the word, “gluten.” So, I listened when patients lamented about feeling isolated, I witnessed how misunderstood this condition was in both medical spaces and the general public, and I reflected on my personal struggle to get diagnosed. To this end, I organized a support group, hosted gluten-free events, and created resources, including this very newsletter that you’re reading today.
But as I continued to listen to the concerns of the community, my focus shifted from moral support and individualized education to a more daunting task: expanding access to safe gluten-free food.
To achieve this, we spent countless hours working with Wal-Mart and many other grocery stores, campaigning for the nationwide chains to sell gluten-free foods; collaborated with Anheuser-Busch to develop gluten-free beer; and partnered with diagnostic companies and increased testing for celiac disease by 40%, as well as increased diagnosis from 3% to 20% of the 1% of the population that has celiac. It was around this time that the gluten-free diet really began entering the public’s sphere of knowledge, and I am proud to have been a trailblazer in that effort.
Since then, Beyond Celiac has grown into a nonprofit to be reckoned with, and our focus has shifted to our most ambitious goal yet: a treatment for celiac disease by 2030.
No matter how delicious modern gluten-free food is, the gluten-free diet is still not enough for at least a third of our patient community. Even those that do heal on the gluten-free diet still feel restricted by this medically-necessary diet. Not only do we deserve better, we need better. And just like previous goals, I won’t stop until we achieve it.
But throughout all my years as CEO of Beyond Celiac, one thing has never changed: you’re at
the heart of everything we do. This organization and all that we have accomplished truly would
not exist without your love and support. So this February, please accept our gluten-free
affection, and, if you’re as excited about our work as we are, donate at cure4u.funraise.org so we can
continue to work toward a cure for you.
Alice Bast, CEO