i'm hoping that fellow chicagians are aware of what the university of chicago's got going on. they have one serious celiac disease center, where they not only offer help for those with the disease, but they have annual seminars to educate doctors about the issue and how to properly diagnose and treat celiac in patients. another annual event is their free blood screening for individuals that are at risk for the disease. this is a pretty big deal, because most people have health insurance that will not pay for this testing and/or doctors that don't deem it necessary. i know that i had issues with these at the start, and in the end i needed to have blood testing, an endoscopy and intestinal sampling done to analyze those sneaky little microvilli. there is no date set for 2008's blood tests, but the 2007 one was in october -- plan to wait a few months for it. the registration for the last test was in august, so make sure to check back on the site if you or someone you know might be interested.
as this institution survives on donations, they hold an annual benefit and silent auction. i have to admit that i smiled when i read on the website that every single event that they've hosted has sold out. i don't know why but that was a pleasant surprise. the next GF benefit will be taking place on wednesday, april 16, from 6pm until 10pm. there will be lots of delicious GF foods from chicago's most talented chefs. click on the save the date if you're interested.
also on the website you'll find information about celiac advocacy, including articles on new FDA labeling laws and ways to educate legislation and insurance companies to hopefully make our lives a little easier (and maybe a little more financially friendly?). the resource section has lists of celiac orgs, ways to find a celiac-educated doctor in chicago (woohoo! i think they're mostly u chicago docs), and even a means to getting some GF communion wafers for those church-goin' folks.
let's see... what else... of course they offer basic info on the disease. facts on diagnosis. treatment. symptoms. they have information explaining the difference between an allergy and intolerance, which i think is great because the majority just doesn't understand that no, i'm not allergic to wheat, but i still can't eat it. it can be tough to explain if someone really wants to understand what's going on!
finally, they have what looks to be a seasonal newsletter, and if my internet connection was better (it gets wretchedly weak on weekends for some strange reason) i'd download the PDF and check that out. you can also sign up to have it automatically emailed to you. something to consider.
i think this is pretty awesome, and definitely worth your browsing time whether you're living in chicagoland or not. it never hurts to be an educated gluterini!
the university of chicago celiac disease center
celiac disease hotline (monday - friday): 773.702.7593