Letter to the Editor

Support group schedules meetings

Sunday, November 29, 2009

To the Editor:

Hello, this is another letter announcing the start of a Celiac Disease Support Group.

My name is Brooklyn Pierce and I have lived in the area my whole life.

I was diagnosed in January of this year with Celiac Disease. Since then, I have dedicated a lot of time in educating myself about the disease and ways that I could help others who are newly diagnosed.

In doing this, I learned that our area is almost completely unaware of the prevalence of Celiac Disease in America.

This is not surprising though, seeing as a lot of doctors aren't even very well educated on the subject.

Most people who get diagnosed have no idea what to do after they walk out of the doctor's office. This is the reason that I decided to start the support group.

It will focus on helping those newly and already diagnosed get the information they need about everything from where to shop to what kitchen utensils you shouldn't use. We will also hold fundraising events to help further research and awareness of Celiac Disease.

The support group will be sponsored by St. Vincent Clay Hospital and the Celiac Sprue Association (www.csaceliacs.org.) Also, every CSA sponsored support group has to be overseen by a practicing physician. Our physician is Dr. James Stephens, who is a local Gastroenterologist.

He will speak at meetings and be available for questions at times. The meetings will be held in the basement of the medical office building on the hospital's campus.

Our support group will meet once a month with activities and events throughout the year. The group will include the counties of Clay, Vigo, Sullivan, Parke, Putnam, Greene and Owen. Anyone from these counties is welcome to come and be a part of this group, Celiac's, their families and friends, or those that want to learn or help.

The first meeting will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13, from 2-5 p.m., in the room at the medical office building. This will be more of a meet and greet than a meeting.

It will be a pitch-in brunch. Just a way for everyone to get to know each other and share some stories.

We will also discuss when meetings will be, what our goals are, and things you can start doing now to help make yourself safer and healthier.

Those attending are asked to bring one of their favorite Gluten Free dishes. Bring enough to share and utensils for serving. It can be whatever you want. A dinner that you especially like favorite pancake recipe, your favorite Gluten Free cake.

I do ask that if you plan on bringing a dish, please bring a detailed list of the ingredients and the recipe. Those with Celiac Disease often have other food intolerances or allergies, so this will allow everyone to eat without worry.

If you plan on attending, please RSVP to me at 812-249-5631 or aandrommy@yahoo.com by Dec. 12.

If you cannot make it, but still wish to be a part of the group, then please contact me and I will make sure you get the information on future meetings.

I'm excited to hear from anyone wanting to be a part of this group.

Thanks and have a wonderful, Gluten Free day.

Brooklyn Pierce,