Howdy, I’m Jake! I am originally from Fort Worth, Texas but currently studying public health at the University of Texas at Austin.
For the majority of my life, I had no clue what celiac disease was. That is, until December 2019 when my older brother was diagnosed with it. That’s when I was first introduced to celiac disease, but merely the beginning of my own experience with the disease. In January 2021, I began experiencing extreme stomach issues and was unsure of the cause. This led to nutritional deficiencies, weight loss, and anxiety. Finally, in April 2021, doctors were able to confirm that I had celiac disease after many tests and visits. During this time my friends and family were an amazing support system and still are to this day!
As a public health student, one thing discussed in our coursework is how accessible healthcare and treatments are in a population. When transitioning to the gluten-free diet I immediately noticed the price difference between gluten-containing and gluten-free foods. As a result of this, many who need gluten-free foods are unable to afford them and continue to be ill. This dynamic between costs and gluten-free foods perpetuates a cycle of preventable illness caused by celiac disease.
I am beyond excited to work with Beyond Celiac as an ambassador and use my public health knowledge to further awareness about not only the disease but the disparities that accompany it.