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Monday, January 8, 2007
The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group (part 1)
Please visit us at:
http://celiacdisease.meetup.com/1/

In June 2004 I found myself looking for a group in Manhattan similar to the support groups I had been active in with my mother while growing up on Long Island. I happened upon the MeetUp.com website which seemed to have a variety of activities for people all over the world. There was a Celiac group in Manhattan that I decided to join. My first meetup with this group was a disaster. The website organized the meeting in a location that served pastries and cookies and everything WITH gluten. The group was less than five people and I only found one of these people to be friendly and inviting. This was quite the opposite of the Nassau County group I had been a part of since childhood. Quite disappointed, I decided to not attend another meetup.

In late 2006, I figured I would give the group a second chance. I noticed that there were many activities planned at gluten-free or gluten-aware establishments but a very enthusiastic woman named Shanel. Shanel always sent out upbeat emails announcing her events and brought a new life to the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group.

Shortly after my first dinner with this group, I knew this was exactly the kind of group I was looking for. There are only so many dinners that you can go out with your friends and spend more than half of the meal explaining why you eat the way you do. The people in the NYC CD Meetup know exactly why you spend so much time ordering and talking to the waitstaff, why you won't go to particular restaurants, and why you bring your own buns for a hamburger. I was extremely excited about this group and decided to help Shanel with planning.

In the summer 2006, I became assistant organizer to The New York City Celiac Disease Meetup Group. I began exploring different venues around Manhattan to have our gluten-free dinners. I became more active on the message board and began friendships with many others with Celiac Disease. It was an awesome way to feel like a strong part of a community who understands my eating habits and lifestyles. It always makes me laugh to talk to someone about a food reaction and to say "Me too!!" and makes me laugh harder when you are talking to a stranger for the first time that openly admits about their gas and diarrhea problems. Who else but someone with Celiac Disease (or IBS or Chron's) would talk this way.

So now is my blatant self-promotion of this amazing group. I am working hard in 2007 to have more creative meetups and find new venues for our group. I am active on the message board and have been trying to share my knowledge as fast as I get it with the group. If you are anywhere near NYC and would like more information, please consider joining our group. Even if you do not attend one of our events, our messages boards are quite active and our members are friendly.

Please visit us at:
http://celiacdisease.meetup.com/1/

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