It's been a while since I've shared the story behind the face that you see!
In 2012 (13-years-old) I was diagnosed with celiac disease & a rare type of adrenal disorder. I'll be honest, this summarizes so minimally what I went through. At one point I was told I'd have 3 months to live. I had to quit sports, move away from friends, spend weeks in the hospital, all while being home-schooled. This is what summarized teen years...or so you'd think.
I didn't want my illnesses to control my life...I had to do something more. At 15-years-old I created my blog, GlutenAway, as a way to share my experiences as a teen with celiac. My goal: To use my hardships to help anyone, even just one person, feel like they're not alone. After 1 year of blogging I accumulated not just one person, but 1 million readers. 1 MILLION. Isn't that crazy? From then on out I found my voice and I found my purpose.
Crazy enough, my journey was just beginning. At 16 years old I began traveling to gluten-free expos, public speaking on my experiences, and managing events for large brands. Through these events I found my gluten-free family. Celiac and the Beast, Vegetarian Mamma, and so many more. The gluten-free community is what led my mom and I to create these programs to help embrace it: Online Expos, a Gluten-Free Sampling Program, a Gluten-Free Marketing Company, the First Ever Gluten-Free Event Center, and now, HaleLife Bakery.
After nearly 8 years of embracing the gluten-free community I found myself needing to explore more. Now, I speak on many more personal experiences that I've endured. Sexuality, recovery from abuse, invisible-illness, and mental health are just some to name. I am vulnerable about these things because I still struggle with them on a daily basis. Additionally, I know too many people who struggle with these topics and unfortunately it is not spoken about enough.
At 23 years old, 10 years after diagnosis, my goal remains to help anyone, even just one person, feel like they're not alone. While my content may change over time, my honesty and vulnerability will always remain the same. This is my story, but it's only just beginning. 😉