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Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) Launches Resources to Help Canadians Navigate COVID-19

TORONTO, April 30th, 2020 – In this time of heightened health concerns and food shortages, one segment of the population remains particularly at risk – Canadians living with celiac disease. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of foods containing gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), affects 1 in every 100 Canadians. Some of the most common symptoms include chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss, while lesser known symptoms include bone disease, migraines, infertility and anemia.

Navigating Celiac Disease During COVID-19

Since there is no cure or treatment for celiac disease, the only option for people living with the condition is to commit to a strict gluten-free diet. But with panic-buying and unyielding wait times affecting most grocery stores, securing gluten-free foods today is more difficult than ever. “Maintaining a gluten-free diet is challenging, so we are offering help to educate food banks as they are now required to provide special dietary food for our community,” says CCA executive director Melissa Secord.

Secord and the CCA will host a FREE online conference, on May 2, with leading industry experts to provide additional support for those living with celiac disease during COVID-19 and beyond.

The CCA has also added several patient-focused COVID-19 reference tools to its website to educate and empower Canadians on how to obtain direct home delivery and gluten-free take-out food services during these challenging times.

Events Supporting Celiac Awareness Month

Currently, only 10 to 20 per cent of patients living with celiac disease have been diagnosed.1 To close this diagnosis gap, starting in May, as part of its celiac awareness month activities, the CCA is launching the “Could it be Celiac?” campaign to help patients begin a dialogue with their doctor about celiac disease. The effort will feature hard-hitting sponsored social media content designed to encourage people who may have typical and atypical symptoms of the disease to get tested. The CCA is supplementing this information with a free webinar on May 26 where individuals can learn more from a gastroenterologist, who is an expert in celiac disease and gluten disorders.

The CCA is also organizing other online events to raise awareness of the needs of the celiac community. The first event is How Do You Sandwich? – a month-long social media contest its running in partnership with Promise Gluten Free that’s designed to celebrate the delicious sandwich possibilities you can make with gluten-free breads. Contest website here.

Finally, the CCA will light up iconic buildings in major cities across Canada on May 16, to honour International Celiac Disease Awareness Day. As part of the #GetYourGlowBack initiative, the CCA is encouraging people to recognize both the typical and atypical symptoms of the disease. For a complete list of all building lightings, click here.

About the Canadian Celiac Association

The Canadian Celiac Association / L’Association canadienne de la maladie coeliaque, a volunteer-based federally registered charitable organization, empowers people who are adversely affected by gluten. It was founded in 1972 and continues to be a source of science-based information, fostering research and encouraging mutual support among the gluten-free community. The association serves people with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis and gluten disorders through its affiliated chapters across Canada.

1. Canadian Celiac Association. The Need for Serological Screening for Celiac Disease in Ontario. Accessed April 28, 2018.

Media Contact: Angela Rotundo
M: 647-525-0030

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