Kids with gluten intolerance get an opportunity to be ‘normal’
Care Free Camp Activities + Worry Free Food = The PERFECT Combination
INDIANAPOLIS — Austin Duncan’s parents spent years trying to define the problems their son was having. When he was little more than two years old, Austin began experiencing severe behavioral issues and environmental sensations foreign to most children.
He would throw temper tantrums and throw himself on the floor, crying for hours and slithering around in snake-like formations. He had spatial issues. While he wanted to hug his parents, at the same time, he was adverse to being hugged. His skin was ultra-sensitive, to the point that he complained when stepping on soft grass in his bare feet. Regular sounds were too loud for his ears. Tags were removed from his clothes, and seams on his socks had to be strategically positioned. All these parenting maneuvers relieved the symptoms, but didn’t cure the problems for this young boy who was nearing school age, but still wearing size 3T.
“Kindergarten and first grade were a disaster,” says his mom, Tina Duncan. Doctors kept saying he might be autistic and that although he was 6 years old and wearing a size 3T he was in the 80 percent range in size. She didn’t relent. She left his pediatrician and sought new medical advice.
Finally, a nurse practitioner at an alternative healthcare practice nailed the problem down. Austin had Celiac Disease, a genetic disorder affecting children and adults. People with celiac disease are unable to eat foods that contain gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. In people with celiac disease, gluten sets off an autoimmune reaction that causes the destruction of the villi in the small intestine.
People with celiac disease produce antibodies that attack the intestine, causing damage and illness. As a result, Austin was suffering malnutrition and a compromised immune system, and was being poisoned by the use of Play Doh and even glue from the new carpeting in his school. And of course the foods he ate with gluten automatically triggered the auto-immune response.
Three years later, that same child is well-adjusted, excelling in school, eating gluten free and wishing for the day that he can be “normal,” Austin says. He is staking his hopes on medicine of the future.
In the meantime, Austin and other children like him, have an opportunity to spend four days and three nights at Camp Gluten Freedom – ziplining, rock wall climbing, hiking, swimming, playing games, meeting new friends and making new positive memories. And when mealtime arrives, no child will stand out from the crowd. All the friends will stand in line together and eat the same foods together. There will even be a campfire with gluten free s’mores.
A number of gluten free food companies are contributing to this gluten free camping event, to be held at Camp Jameson, 2001 Bridgeport Road from June 25 to 28. Current food sponsors are Schar, Udi’s, Pamela’s, and Bloomfield Farms. The camp is still in need of financial sponsorships.
These kids need a Superhero, is it you? Donations and information can be reviewed at www.gofundme.com/vyh64.
Duncan wants parents to feel confident in sending their children to Jameson Camp. She said the facility has committed to catering only gluten free during camp to greatly reduce the possibility of cross contamination issues and she will be there to monitor the food preparation.
Both boys and girls, ages 8 to 14 are welcome to enroll. Two cabins have been reserved to accommodate both.
Cost to attend the camp is $350 per child. A Paypal payment of $355 may be made to firstname.lastname@example.org. A check may be sent to Gluten Free Living Now, Ltd., 13471 Clifty Falls Drive, Carmel, IN 46032. Deadline for registering is June 17. All payments must be received by June 18.
Austin Duncan will spend four days and three nights with other girls and boys at Camp Gluten Freedom this summer, June 25 to 28. At this camp, children with gluten free diets and gluten free, casein free diets will be accommodated with safe foods at meal and snack times.