In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease, and since then it has become an invaluable resource to people worldwide who seek information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
In 1998 I created The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore! which was also another Internet first—it was the first gluten-free food site to offer a shopping cart-style interface, and the ability for people to order gluten-free products manufactured by many different companies at a single Web site.
I am also co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.
Celiac.com 11/28/2006 - The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is thrilled to announce that CNN Newsroom Anchor Heidi Collins has signed on as the foundation’s official spokesperson.
As a fellow celiac and a member of the news media, Heidi will bring a wealth of knowledge to NFCA. Every weekday, Heidi anchors CNN Newsroom from 9am-Noon EST. Previously she has provided in-depth reports for Anderson Cooper 360°, Paula Zahn Now, and The Situation Room, as well as served as a news anchor for CNN’s American Morning. Heidi has received three Edward R. Murrow awards as well as an Associated Press Award in the best documentary category.
Heidi’s journey with celiac disease began shortly after she finished graduate school and began her first television job as an anchor at a station in Wichita Falls, Texas. About one year after she started this job, she learned she was pregnant, news that thrilled both Heidi and her husband Matt. The couple kept the secret for quite some time, but finally six months into the pregnancy, Heidi announced on air that she would be having a baby. Sadly, just a few weeks after announcing her pregnancy, Heidi lost the baby. She received very little explanation from her doctors about why the tragic loss had occurred other than from fetal demise.
During Heidi’s next television job in Colorado Springs, she developed a near fatal blood clot in her leg. After four months in the hospital and arterial bypass surgery, a vascular surgeon told Heidi she would never be able to have children. The doctor explained that her blood vessels would not be able to handle the strain of a pregnancy. Heidi and Matt were devastated.
Heidi’s next television job brought the couple to Denver, where after a lengthy search, they found a high-risk obstetrician who felt that having a child would not be impossible after all. Nine months later, two injections a day of blood-thinner and constant observation by a team of physicians, Heidi gave birth to her son Riley. She says it was the happiest day of her life.
However, Heidi continued to deal with stomach pains, severe headaches and anemia. The constant health issues grew nearly intolerable as she moved to CNN’s New York office. She continued visiting doctors until finally after 15 years of one health problem after another, her general practitioner diagnosed her with celiac disease. With one simple blood test, Heidi had found a diagnosis that would allow her to work toward a cure for her chronic medical conditions and an answer as to why her pregnancy had failed.
“Through being the spokesperson for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, I hope to significantly reduce the time it takes for people with celiac disease to be accurately diagnosed and empower people to reclaim their health and restore their lives,” Collins said. “It is through the power of my personal story and my ongoing struggle with celiac disease that I hope to encourage people to get tested and make a positive change in their lives.”
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising celiac awareness and funds for research. NFCA is made up of professionals, medical specialists, and volunteers—all dedicated to working with leading researchers around the world to better understand celiac disease. Visit www.celiaccentral.org or call 202-904-7865 for further information.