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2020 Virtual TCS New York City Marathon
New York, NY
We are honored to be a charity partner in the 2020 TCS NYC Marathon! Although the in-person event is cancelled, we proudly support our passionate Team Gluten-Free members who are committed to raising funds and awareness during these unique times and can still participate in the virtual event.
November 1, 2020
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Meet and Support our Incredible Team!
Donna Salsbury: June 2019…“Mrs. Salsbury, you have celiac disease.” At 52 years old, I was diagnosed with a disease about which I knew nothing. After much research, I began to understand what I was living with and how to successfully live with it. I was determined to not let this diagnosis be negative, and to make it something positive by supporting the research, advocacy, and educational work being done to ensure healthy lives for all with celiac. As a newly diagnosed celiac, there was a feeling of lost control as I adapted to this new reality. Running provided me with a break from that reality and provided me with peace. While running, everything is in my control and my only concern is the road ahead. The road ahead now includes being able to combined supporting the work being done for celiac disease with the running that gives me peace and control – I am thrilled to be running the TCS New York City Marathon as part of Team Gluten-Free benefiting the Celiac Disease Foundation! I am hopeful that each step of the 26.2 miles I will run is a step closer to more people understanding what celiac disease is; a step closer to more people getting diagnosed; a step closer to more funding for needed research; and a step closer to that research providing what we all so desperately want – a cure! I am truly honored to be a part of Team Gluten-Free to raise funds for and awareness of celiac disease! Support Donna here!
Aaron Kent: Two years ago, my Dad was the healthiest 67 year old I knew. He could surf for hours on end (up to 7 hours if the waves were good), and wake up the next morning to do it again. He was freshly retired and enjoying surfing even more, when one day he felt so faint, he wound up in the emergency room. Fast forward two years, numerous hospital stays, every test possible, and several trips to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, he was officially diagnosed with celiac disease. Needless to say, our lives have changed since the diagnosis. To watch him lose so much weight, become easily fatigued, and not be able to surf has been heart breaking. But he took it all in stride, educated himself and us about gluten-free living and is still one of the most positive people I know. Two years ago, I honestly thought being gluten-free was a hipster fad diet. Since my Dad’s diagnosis, I learned how ignorant I was. I want to help spread awareness about the dangers of gluten for those with celiac disease. I often think about how my Dad has been able to endure and persevere through his diagnosis on a daily basis. He inspires me as an endurance athlete to keep pushing through my training everyday. To be able to represent him and the Celiac Disease Foundation in the TCS NYC Marathon means so much to me. It is truly an honor and a privilege to represent an organization that is committed to raise awareness and support education, research and treatment of celiac disease. Support Aaron here!
Courtney Morton: I’m so thrilled to be running the 2020 TCS NYC marathon with Team Gluten-Free. I live in Central Ohio and am a stay at home mom of 4 kids. I love cooking and all types of exercise. I started running about 5 years ago and fell in love with the sport and the community that surrounds it. I continue to strive to be a better and stronger runner every day. My husband and I enjoy running together. Our favorite date is a run and lunch! A couple of years ago, my daughter’s best friend, Mya, was diagnosed with celiac disease. This was a huge adjustment for their family, and I wanted to keep something “normal” for her. The best way I could help was to cook gluten-free meals and have gluten-free snacks for the girls when they came to our house. I didn’t want Mya to have to change her social life because her diet had changed. Fast forward to today; it is our new normal to eat gluten-free at gatherings and even on vacation together. Last year, Mya’s mom, Michelle, ran the TCS NYC marathon with Team Gluten-Free, and she asked me if I would run this year. I am honored to be a part of this team and help support the Celiac Disease Foundation for families like Mya’s. Support Courtney here!
Tom Barabas: Our family’s celiac story started with my son, eight years ago, as a 3-year old. He began to have severe intestinal issues, he wasn’t growing and his teeth had turned gray, since he wasn’t getting any nutrients. In general, he was an absolutely miserable child, which was demoralizing because he was previously so happy. After way too many trips to the local doctor, where we were consistently told not to worry about it, my wife practically begged the doctor to have a blood test. My son’s numbers literally came back off the charts. After getting an endoscopy, he was officially diagnosed with celiac disease, and we were able to move towards getting him better. He is now a healthy, happy, athletic child who is amazing at dealing with his disease. Several years later, my wife, who by this point had been gluten-free for years, began to have her own intestinal issues. Testing showed damage to her intestines, most likely from undiagnosed celiac disease. While we have learned to manage the disease as a family, there is much work to be done with regard to outreach and advocacy, in addition to early diagnosis and ultimately a cure. It is an honor to help reach those goals by running for Team Gluten-Free and raising money for the Celiac Disease Foundation. Support Tom here!
Judy Mikacich: Juggling motherhood and doctoring has been a challenge for me from the start. Trying to fit in a love for running has added yet another challenge. Rarely does a single event allow me to combine all three of those “loves” at once. Training for the New York City Marathon as a member of Team Gluten-Free is one of those rare opportunities, and I am super excited to be on the task! When our eldest daughter, Clara, now 18, was diagnosed with celiac disease as a sophomore in high school, it was a TOTAL surprise. I knew no one with the disease and almost nothing about it, even as a physician. Running in a cross-country race, Clara looked far more exhausted than she should have. My husband (also a physician) and I looked at each other bewildered. Was it her Graves’ Disease Hyperthyroidism acting up? Was she just worn out? Maybe not suited for running, after all? A few doctor visits and lab tests later, we were looking at a 16-year-old with a second autoimmune diagnosis: celiac disease. While we have “answers” in the form of diagnoses, I have so many more questions about why this happened and what, if anything, we could have done to prevent it. Clara is a stalwart, and she has handled her disease processes beautifully, but her life could have been so much more carefree. And facing college dorm life (if she gets to attend in the current COVID-19 situation) is daunting…at least for me as her mother! I haven’t run a marathon in almost 30 years. But what could be better than being a mother and a doctor and runner in one of the best athletic events in one of the best cities in the world?! So, I’ll give it my best shot, supporting Team Gluten-Free to help the Celiac Disease Foundation find answers and making life easier for kids like Clara and families like ours. Support Judy here!