Hi! My name is Mackenzie Willbanks, and I am 18 years old. Experiencing firsthand the lack of knowledge the public has about celiac disease in my community – I decided it was time for a change. I contacted the Gluten Intolerance Group in 2017; I wanted to be the gluten- free voice of Bucks County.
Generation GF Bucks County has currently been holding monthly meetings that will often revolve around an upcoming holiday or event. For example, in February for Valentine’s Day our members made cut out heart cards of their hands; they then wrote inside of them why they loved to be gluten-free. This activity allowed them to therapeutically focus on the positive aspects of a gluten-free lifestyle versus the challenges. We also do a range of games that expand our members’ knowledge about gluten-free products including variations of bingo, memory games, and card games. We also recently performed different skits (with pretend food) that have helped our members more effectively communicate to peers and restaurants about cross-contamination and why they can’t eat gluten. It has been a privilege to be able to watch these children share their fears, hopes, and dreams about the gluten-free lifestyle.
As we continue to concentrate on this support group, we are inspired by the potential that it will have in the future and are looking forward to building a stronger community: a gluten-free safe haven. One of the members emailed us after her first meeting expressing, “Your story gives me great courage to take this on.” We hope that we will continue to inspire others and help them continue their gluten-free journey with us. We are also looking forward to having many more meetings in the future, and we would love for new members to join us! Please contact generationGF.email@example.com if you are interested in attending upcoming meetings; we would love to have you!