When Nina Winner’s daughters, Mara and Abigail, go to a sleepover or a birthday party, they have to take packed meals with them.
They can’t eat what the other kids are eating because they have celiac—a genetic auto-immune disease—and their father has it, too.
Her daughters’ and husband’s diagnoses inspired Nina to get involved with a group of moms that organizes the annual Celiac Skate in Highland Park, which raises awareness of the disease as well as funds for the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center Research Program.
“You don’t realize how much food is a social component of everything,” Nina says. “It’s hard for kids.” And many people don’t realize that the effects of the disease stretch far beyond diet—women with celiac disease are at risk of developing infertility, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.
So, until there’s a cure, Nina will be doing everything she can to support the research. She says of her kids, “I don’t want them to have to worry about food for the rest of their lives.”
To learn more about the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center Research Program, visit celiacdisease.net
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