Camp Celiac in Rhode Island celebrated its 16th year of camp in August 2015. That’s 16 years of life-changing, friendship-forming, gluten-free s’mores-making, invaluable memories for young people with Celiac Disease. Camp provides a fun outlet that helps improve children’s general well-being, self-perception and emotional outlook. Although this is priceless, the cost of running camp is not. Since we are a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers, we rely on funds from camp tuition, sponsors, and generous donations. We want to continue providing an excellent stress-free camp week for years to come and here is how you can help!

Camp Celiac is a special place for some truly remarkable kids who come from all over the country to enjoy a week full of friends, fun, and gluten-free food! Why is Celiac a big deal? People with Celiac need to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. Although “gluten free” has become trendy, people with Celiac need to be more careful than ever with their food choices. An amount over 20 ppm (20 parts per million is the equivalent of 20 cents in $10,000!) can send a Celiac into a violent reaction for which there is no remedy other than time. After the initial exposure and reaction, some people with Celiac then have roughly a 6-week recovery period. Non-adherence to the diet can cause a myriad of gastro-intestinal issues, but can also lead to long-term health complications such as failure to thrive, malnutrition, osteoporosis, depression, infertility and cancer.

How does this affect kids? When the initial diagnosis is made, there is a swift and steep learning curve; everything in the life of the child and the family members changes. The realization sinks in that pizza and cupcakes at birthday parties are a thing of the past. Sitting next to other kids in the cafeteria suddenly becomes a potential hazard. Going out to dinner means checking menus in advance, making phone calls, talking to the wait-staff and chefs. Invitations to sleepovers dwindle due to other parents being nervous about accommodating special dietary needs. Celiac disease can be overwhelming and isolating, especially for kids.

Why donate to Camp Celiac? As one young camper loaded her sleeping bag into the car at the end of her first week at camp, she burst out crying and said she wished she could stay. When asked why, she said, “Because I just feel normal here.” Camp Celiac is a place where the disease that usually isolates them, becomes the bond that unifies them. They can experience a week during which they do not have to worry about their disease and they can just be kids. A week at camp in 2016 cost $625.00 per camper. This can be quite a burden on families that already spend more than a typical family on everyday items due to the cost of gluten-free groceries.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Camp Celiac; 100% of your generous contribution will go directly to camp to help us continue providing this wonderful week for these deserving kids. Receipt of donation is available upon request. Checks made out to Camp Celiac can be mailed to:
Camp Celiac
P.O. Box 638
Churchton, MD 20733

For additional information, please email info@campceliac.org. Thank you in advance for your support!