If you’ve been keeping up with me as the children’s author of the Danny the Dragon series, you’ve probably heard me talk about the new Danny the Dragon CD, which is soon to be released, containing a reading of Danny Meets Jimmy by a talented vocal artist followed by a compilation of ten original classic songs by up-and-coming composers. What’s great about the CD is that, as with the book, it can be enjoyed by people of all ages—the young and the young at heart. What’s even better, though, is the fact that the proceeds are going to a cause which is near and dear to my heart in my research and humanitarian efforts, a cause that you may not know much about—raising celiac disease awareness.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably haven’t even heard of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder which causes an immune reaction that can affect the entire body, causing both physical and mental problems. The cause? An allergy to gluten, a component of wheat, barley, and rye.
The problem with celiac disease is that doctors don’t know much about it either. They don’t know that it affects an estimated 300 million Americans and that with a simple test, a diagnosis can be made and the easy treatment can begin—a gluten-free diet.
Many years ago, I found myself with many painful symptoms and without any answer to what the source was or how to treat it. I went in circles with doctors, nutritionists, and testing. Finally, I decided to do my own research. It became clear that the answer was an allergy to gluten. What became even clearer was how little doctors knew about celiac disease and the vast numbers of people suffering without a diagnosis and treatment.
An estimated 300 million Americans have celiac disease and only three percent of them know it. When I’m not working on the latest installment of my Danny the Dragon series or the Danny the Dragon Cookbook, I’m working hard to change this statistic by raising awareness and support for this disease that affects more people twice as many of those who suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulceric colitis, and cystic fibrosis combined.
Proceeds from the Danny the Dragon CD will go to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center, one of the major research centers around studying and bringing awareness to celiac disease. It is one-hundred percent focused on studying celiac disease and carries out research connecting it with various other diseases which it is believed to lead to if left untreated. Its goal is to change the lives of celiac disease sufferers for the better around the world, a goal which it is actively achieving, little by little, every day.
Why is it that you and your doctors probably haven’t heard about celiac disease? Although the amount of research on celiac disease is growing, it depends entirely on the generosity of private benefactors for its funding. Without these charitable donations, there would be no way to continue this research and the efforts to raise awareness. Out of the estimated fifty autoimmune diseases that have been discovered by doctors, it is the only one which isn’t supported in its research by the U.S. government.
That’s why I support centers such as Columbia University’s Celiac Disease Center. I look forward to the release of the Danny the Dragon CD. Not only will it delight Danny the Dragon fans, but it will help support a cause that has the potential to change the lives of millions of people for the better.