Very excited for you all to e-meet Kristin F., our summer intern in Seville. Keep an eye out for her on the blog, on facebook and on twitter going forward! And now, in her own words:
We used to eat a lot of pasta. Twice a week, sometimes more. When I was little, after hauling us home in our dirty soccer apparel and getting us all cleaned off, my mother would start making the family favorite…spaghetti.
In April of 2003 my mother went in for a routine surgery, and the next thing we knew she had been diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that creates intolerance to any products that contain gluten. It seemed that overnight our lives had changed. Spaghetti night was no longer an option, but it was more than that. Our peanut butter had to be examined for traces of MSG, a chemical no-no for celiacs. One of our favorite Chinese restaurants had to be questioned about what exact kind of soy sauce they used. The list of changes went on and on, and our entire family had to adjust.
Over the years, it has become easier to find gluten free options, but it just isn´t the same. My mother says she doesn´t notice anymore, but sometimes I wonder how much it kills her that she can´t indulge in the bread served to us at a restaurant, or try that exquisite cake my grandma made for my birthday, or eat apple pie on Thanksgiving.
Life´s little ironies happen all the time, which was exemplified this summer, when I sought internships while studying abroad in Spain. I came across a company commercializing a kit internationally to help celiacs. GlutenTox Home can help detect the smallest traces of gluten in food, kind of like a pregnancy test.
This job has given me the opportunity to give back, and to help people like my mother. No longer will my mom have to send back soup which may or may not have been thickened by flour. We will not have to worry that those treats claiming to be ¨gluten free¨ are actually destroying her small intestine. I won´t again watch my mother make the decision to just eat something and risk the consequences. I´m working for people who are changing the lives of celiacs everywhere. What more can a daughter ask for?