Larnaka WilkinsonThe Voices of Celiac Disease

“At the end of 2023 I was denied from my dream job in the Australian Navy due to my celiac disease.”

A photo of Larnaka smiling in front of a river.

Hi, my name is Larnaka Wilkinson, I am 16 years old and located in Perth, Western Australia. I was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of four, and have learnt to live with it since.

Before my diagnosis I was very sick; my stomach was quite large whilst the rest of my body was abnormally skinny, and I was always pale and very ill. After many visits to the doctor and my mum insisting that something more was wrong, I was finally diagnosed with celiac disease. My parents guided me through the early years of my gluten-free diet and I adapted well to it.

Life With Celiac Disease

Now I am very grateful for having been diagnosed at such a young age because it made the transition a lot easier. I am very lucky as I do not always have a severe reaction, but it is still difficult to manage outings and school events. It doesn’t bother me too much but I would like it if I didn’t have separate meals from my friends and family, and the goal of Beyond Celiac to find a cure would solve that problem!

My celiac disease has also affected my future. At the end of 2023 I was denied from my dream job in the Australian Navy due to my celiac disease. I had spent a year planning my future around joining the military so when I was denied it set me back quite a lot.

Making a Change with Beyond Celiac

I am excited to be a Beyond Celiac ambassador because I want to make a change in the celiac community, specifically I would like to educate people on the military’s unnecessary discrimination toward food restrictions. I would also like to educate those who don’t know that they have celiac disease and encourage them to get checked.

I am so happy to be given the opportunity to spread awareness and to help others through Beyond Celiac.