Twelve years ago – at ages 5 and 3 – we were diagnosed with celiac disease. This means for the rest of our lives, we can’t eat any gluten whatsoever because it damages our intestines and we become really sick.
Celiac disease is a lifelong intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats contaminated with gluten from other products. In people with celiac disease, gluten damages the lining of the intestines. This can prevent them from absorbing nutrients and cause a variety of other symptoms. CD is always treatable by changes in diet.
Some people don’t eat gluten by choice, but for us, there is no cheating with our diet. It only takes a breadcrumb for us to get glutened, and then we vomit continuously for hours.
Trust us, it’s not pretty.
We were really too young to remember life before celiac, but our parents say we were tired, crying and constipated a lot. …
When you meet Lynkin Bell, the first things you notice are her big personality and chubby cheeks. You might also see how she adores her brother Lukis and hamming it up for the camera. But you’d never guess that this playful 14-month-old from Texas wasn’t expected to survive, never mind talk, stand or play peekaboo like a pro.
And yet, thanks to her parents’ faith and persistence — and surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital — Lynkin can do all those things, and lots more, with the gusto befitting any toddler her age.
“It’s a miracle,” says Kaylen Gaston, Lynkin’s mom. “We were told so many times she wouldn’t make it, and here she is defying all odds.” …
When Tim Conners collected his wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2012 at the age of 18, he was blind from childhood leukemia that had spread to his optic nerve and craving inspiration to transcend his disability. A football player and wrestler who’d never been an outdoorsman, he asked to meet Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on seven continents.
Tim’s wish came true. He had 2½ terrifying but transformative days of outdoor adventures in Colorado with Erik, who lost his sight to a degenerative eye disorder at 13.
Now Tim is training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the 19,000-foot peak in Tanzania in May, shortly after he graduates from Ithaca College. He’s already climbed four peaks in Colorado, including the 14,000-foot, snow- and loose-rock-covered Mount Sherman last summer. He’s trekked and rafted in the Grand Canyon.
“In a lot of ways, losing my sight gave me my vision,” says Tim. …