What is Shine a Light?

On Sunday, May 16, iconic buildings all over the world, including in Boston, Edmonton, Montreal, Nashville, New York City, Toronto and Vancouver, will be lit up with green to raise awareness for International Celiac Disease Awareness Day.

For the second year in a row, this ground-breaking campaign has once again united celiac disease organizations from across the globe to raise awareness about this serious, genetic autoimmune disease that impacts approximately 1% of the population, or about 1 in 133 people.

Celiac disease patients experience a variety of symptoms that can include chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, anemia, infertility, and physical development issues in children if they continuously eat gluten. The wide range of symptoms makes the path to diagnosis a long and arduous one—on average up to nine years from the first appearance of symptoms—equating to years of needless suffering. [1] There is no cure for celiac disease and currently the only treatment is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Left undiagnosed or untreated, celiac disease can have serious long-term consequences for a patient’s health, such as cancers of the gut, osteopenia, and neurological complications.

International celiac disease groups taking part in the Shine a Light initiative on May 16 include:

  • Beyond Celiac
  • Canadian Celiac Association
  • Celiac Disease Foundation
  • Coeliaque Québec
  • CoeliacUK
  • Coeliac Society of Australia
  • Gluten Intolerance Group
  • National Celiac Association

Shine a Light is just one of many initiatives these international groups have planned for the month of May, which is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. From food drives and informative, educational events to public and research awareness campaigns, there’s an event for everyone.

Media Contacts

  • Melissa Secord, National Executive Director at the Canadian Celiac Association
  • Claire Baker, Senior Communications Director at Beyond Celiac

[1] Delay to celiac disease diagnosis and its implications for health-related quality of life | BMC Gastroenterology | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)

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