This is a picture of my daughter Kate Elliott hugging the menu in a certified gluten free restaurant. She was so happy to be able to safely order all of her favorite foods. Unfortunately, since being diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2014 Kate has unintentionally eaten gluten many times. Restaurants attempt to serve gluten free meals but don't always understand that just touching Kate's food with something that has touched gluten; think stirring a pot with regular noodles then using the same spoon to stir the pot of gf noodles or leaving a crumb from a crouton picked off her salad in an attempt to make it "gluten free" will make her sick. The last 3 years have been a learning process for her, initially attempting to maintain dining out as part of her work and social life and after realizing that that didn't work, Kate decided to only eat from her own kitchen, or one of three local restaurants that had been consistently safe for her. But even that wasn't fail proof as Kate recently learned when her go to gf pizza place cut her pizza with a cross-contaminated pizza cutter, causing her most recent episode, or as she's come to call them, "glutening." It is so hard to see your child as sick as a glutening makes Kate. Shortly after eating something that is contaminated with gluten Kate begins to vomit. She becomes dizzy to the point that she has had to crawl to the bathroom to avoid falling. This is followed by a blinding headache, extreme lethargy, anxiety, depression, water retention, brain fog and stomach issues among other things. These symptoms have lasted for as long as 3 weeks after each exposure. Kate has missed multiple days of work each time she has gotten glutened and she absolutely hates that, as it is not a reflection of her work ethic. Which brings me to my reason for starting a GoFundMe, it was brought to my attention today that Nosey Dog Detection Partners trains dogs to sniff foods for gluten. When I passed this info along to Kate she cried. She would be able to take her Certified Celiac Service Dog with her wherever she goes and he/she would be able to tell her what foods are safe to eat! This could change her life! No more chances of accidentally eating gluten, no more weeks being ill, no more sick days affecting her performance at work! No more worrying that the "safe" foods may make her sick, as the dog is trained to detect even trace amounts of gluten. I immediately thought, Kate MUST have one of these dogs! I emailed Nosey Dog Detection Partners and was shocked to find out that to have a dog trained would cost $15,000! While this is a large cost, it is far outweighed by the benefits that could be provided to Kate by a trained and Certified Celiac Service Dog. Kate is always the first to help someone in need. For years, she has chosen a disadvantaged child from my class to sponsor a Christmas for and she donates her time and money to various causes throughout the year, always willing to lend a hand and give a smile to help a friend, or even a stranger, in need. She simply cannot afford this without the help of others. Gluten-sniffing service dog is a big help for Bethany student
I'm hoping that by putting Kate's story out there we will be able to raise the money to get her a Certified Celiac Service Dog. Please, if you can donate anything at all it would be greatly appreciated and would truly change Kate's life!