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Ashley McGilloway

My name is Ashley. I am from the north-shore. I am currently a senior in college, graduating in May. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease my junior year of high school. It has been five years now, and my life has changed for the best. Before I was diagnosed I was constantly feeling sick. I dealt with agonizing stomach pains, which made it difficult to get out of bed and live a normal life. I was a gymnast at this point as well. I was constantly tired and I had no drive because I was always feeling sick. I had dealt with these pains since childhood, but the doctors thought I just had a "sensitive" stomach. Once things worsened and it became unbearable to even eat out with my friends, I called a stomach specialist. Celiac was the last thing I was tested for and sure enough I tested positive. I began the gluten-free diet, and my life began to snap back into place. I had more energy and the stomach aches and head aches began to decrease immediately. It was difficult once I went away to college because at that point not many college food services knew what the disease was. I went through several meetings and eventually was able to have a special meal plan created. Today I live in my own apartment, and I am an expert at cooking my own gluten-free meals. I do not cheat on this diet, and I have not felt the need to. I am a communication major with focuses in journalism and media arts. I have used this to spread the word about Celiac Disease. I have written several articles for my coursework, and one for my school newspaper. I even made a web site, in my web design class, devoted to living gluten-free. I have a lot to say on the topic, and I would like to spread my knowledge. I feel that many college students can relate to me. Once they know what the disease actually is many doors can be opened. Life is so much better Gluten-Free!

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