David and I at the Paul Taylor Celiac Disease Fundraiser in March 2009.
I received some very terrible and shocking news on Friday. David Marc Fischer, of Gluten Free NYC, passed away on Thursday due to an illness in New York City. This is a tremendous loss to the gluten-free and national Celiac Community.
I met David about four years ago at a local gluten-free event through the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group. We started chatting that night and immediately became friends. David and I quickly learned that we had more than just Celiac Disease in common. We both grew up less than one mile from each other, we went to the same high school, and we both thought Plainview, NY was a gluten-free mecca.
Over the years, I became a huge fan of David's blog Gluten Free NYC. In 2007, when I started writing this blog it was David who was one of my biggest supporters. His encouragement and support of all things gluten-free helped me kick-off my blog. It was always great to get comments and feedback from David, even if our views on Celiac Disease didn't always match up. The great thing about David is that he could always back up his comments, so I never really had a good argument against him.
In the summer of 2007, David helped the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group attempt to spin off an organizers sub-committee. Although the group didn't pan out, David was a strong contributor to ideas for future events. David's passion for the gluten-free community in NYC was obvious. He could always be seen at Columbia University Celiac Disease Center events, NFCA events like the cooking spree, and even at community board meetings supporting bars like Heathers (serving gf beers) to help avoid getting them shuttered for good. He blogged regularly and I was always quite envious at his dedication and time to blog since I couldn't keep up with my own blog.
David and I had many amusing conversations over the past few years. As some of you might know, there is sometimes drama in the gluten-free community. Read any message board, attend any organizationally-tied event, write a blog with opinions... gasp! We both had our run-ins with "haters" but we always got a good laugh about it. Being the organizer of the largest Celiac Disesase Meetup group in the country, I have dealt with enough lame gluten-free drama over the past few years but David always let me vent to him even if I knew he really just wanted to roll his eyes. After our meetup events, David and I would always take the long route back to the subway to chat about the most recent event. He gave me advice, made suggestions for future events, and just chatted with me about life. It was obvious to me that David was a loyal person that was respected by his friends and family. I am happy I could call David my friend.
David has been a huge force in the gluten-free community for many years now. His blog has given many people tons of information about gluten-free living, restaurants, and products. His unwavering support for the Celiac community goes beyond David having Celiac Disease. He became an advocate for our gluten-free lifestyle which went above and beyond blog writing. His enthusiastic debates with the members of the NYC Celiac Disease always made for the most exciting message threads. David's support of both awareness and advocacy was obvious from his presence at my Celiac Disease events. His death and absence from these events will be quite a huge loss to us all.
David, you were a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration to me and the Celiac Disease community. I am so sad that you are gone and even sadder that I didn't get to say goodbye. I will miss you.
For those of you who would like to make a donation to the Celiac Disease Center in memory of David – here is the info:
Go to: https://giving.columbia.edu/giveonline/
At Select a School or Division: use the "Select a School or Division" drop down box, and select
Celiac Disease Center
Enter Gift Amount
Click on NEXT
When at the next page, select "In Memory"
In the Honoree Information box that pops up, enter Honoree name: David Marc Fischer.
There is also a box to enter reason for gift and contact information.
Donations can also be mailed:
Please make checks payable to: Trustees of Columbia University
Please note on the memo line that the donation is in memory of David Marc Fischer
Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
180 Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY 10032