If you Google awareness days you will find that nearly every day there will be an organisation or charity attempting to raise awareness of an issue that is important to them. Some of them like Earth Day are worldwide and affect millions, whilst others are more local and might only affect a few individuals. But what they have in common is that just for a day, week or month they try to highlight to everyone the issues certain sectors of society or individuals are facing every day of the year.
This week is Coeliac Awareness Week. Coeliac disease is something very close to my heart as a coeliac myself. I count myself as lucky as my disease was picked up relative quickly by my doctor and with careful management and support my symptoms are generally under control. But many people including children go undiagnosed and the impact of undiagnosed coeliac disease on children is huge.
Coeliac disease is not an allergy or food intolerance or people just being fussy eaters. It is a serious illness where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues when you eat gluten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means the body can’t properly absorb nutrients from food.
This year’s awareness week is about shining a light on the disease so why not spend a few minutes and checkout the Coeliac UK awareness pages so you can spot the symptoms and support family and friends or so you can show a bit more patience with the person in front of you in the queue in the café as they check carefully the ingredients of a snack.
But as I said at the beginning of this blog there are other important awareness days so next time you spot an awareness day popping up on your social media do not ignore it but spend a few minutes to find out about the condition or issue. And not just because it could help you personally but because you will gain empathy and knowledge and therefore become a better colleague or friend.
And everyone needs an empathic friend.