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.
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.