Celiac Disease Awareness Month Call to Action: The Celiac Disease Community Needs a Mascot!

Celiac Disease Awareness Month Call to Action: The Celiac Disease Community Needs a Mascot!

In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is issuing four calls to action (one each week).

The fourth call to action is to brainstorm on a “mascot” for celiac disease/gluten-related disorders. The allergy community has “Turn it Teal” lighting, red sneakers, & orange wigs–all visually impactful, positive, and successful campaigns to raise awareness. The celiac disease community needs something similar.

What follows are my thoughts but please share your thoughts too!

My current idea is pretty simple–buttons, etc. in various languages with the wording, “Ask Me About Celiac.” (Please, please, please, if any of the translations in the image are wrong, let me know!)

We need a mascot speaking these words. A chameleon perhaps? Why a chameleon? Because they change color which could represent celiac disease and its many varied signs and symptoms.

Finally, the mascot needs a name! Al (see comments below) suggested Cecilia. So how does the community feel about Cecilia and Cecil, the celiac chameleons? UPDATE: Based on comments received so far (including those sent by email) “CeCe the celiac chameleon” is the current favorite. Please let me know what you think.

Send me your thoughts at info@glutenfreewatchdog.org or post them here.

Thank you!

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Comments (26)

  • Jan Lee Reply

    Hi Tricia,
    Thank you as always for your initiative, your inspiration and willingness to inspire others to act. It’s greatly needed and appreciated.

    I think the idea of including the messages in many languages is tremendous. It gets the point across that above, all, celiac disease isn’t a personal experience: it affects people of all backgrounds, nationalities, ages and cultures. Imparting that insight is critical to making it a global concern — and inspiring better government policies and action.

    As to your Spanish translation: I believe la enfermedad celíaca would be more accurate. Celiaco is an adjective (El es celíaco/He is celiac,for example). In Spanish unlike English, whether it’s female or male (celíaca/celíaco) depends on the noun its agreeing with. In this case, la enfermedad (the disease) is female.

    So the correct translation would be Preguntame sobre la enfermedad celíaca.

    If space is a concern, then I would probably opt for Preguntame sobre la celíaca, although this requires the uninitiated reader to realize you are talking about a disease.

    To really get this message across successfully, I would keep in mind that *many* languages rely on male/female agreement when it comes to correct grammar *and* that English is an anomaly when it comes to not including the pronoun (the – or in Spanish, el (male) /la (female). So there would be other languages in which the pronoun would be expected. I mention this because your aim is for the reader to assume you are familiar with the culture and language to make sure they listen to your message and not let grammar get in the way of hearing that message.

    I started this as a short comment :), but I’ll send it on via your email in case it helps.

    Thanks again for all of your inspiring work!

    May 20, 2019 at 7:06 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Thank you so very much!!! I will correct the Spanish translation now. I have no idea how many mistakes have been made translating the other languages. Hopefully folks like you will let me know!

      May 20, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      Hi Jan, Hopefully this is better! Thank you again.

      May 20, 2019 at 7:40 pm
      • Jessie Reply

        Hi Tricia,
        Just to add on here, there should be an accent over the “u” in the first word: “Pregúntame”. Or, alternatively, if you wanted to use a more formal form of address, it would actually be “Pregúnteme”. I think informal is probably fine since you’re trying to bring together the person wearing the button and the person looking for help, not trying to put distance between them, but I mention it as just another consideration that languages like Spanish have that we don’t have to worry about in English. I do think the multilingual approach is awesome!!

        May 21, 2019 at 12:51 pm
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          Thank you, Jessie. If we go ahead with this idea we will definitely get all of the translations right (hopefully!!).

          May 21, 2019 at 1:12 pm
          • Jessie

            Yes, I think crowdsourcing this way to double-check them should do it!

            May 21, 2019 at 1:17 pm
  • Al Reply

    I like it!

    In 2003, Dr Fasano published a paper titled “Celiac Disease — How to Handle a Clinical Chameleon“ I’ve used that term many times.

    Hmmm, thinking of a name….


    May 20, 2019 at 9:44 pm
    • Tricia Thompson Reply

      I remember that article. Maybe that is why a chameleon came to mind! Yes, please use your immense creativity to think up a name!

      May 20, 2019 at 10:19 pm
      • Al Reply

        Hehehe OK. Cecilia is the first name that comes to mind. Still thinking.

        May 21, 2019 at 11:38 am
        • Tricia Thompson Reply

          Cecilia the celiac chameleon sounds great. How about Cecilia and Cecil the celiac chameleons?

          May 21, 2019 at 11:50 am
          • Al

            Sure! That’s allotta alliteration. Lol. No other suggestions yet?

            May 21, 2019 at 1:52 pm
          • Tricia Thompson

            Celia was suggested as closer to celiac and easier to say.

            May 21, 2019 at 2:06 pm
          • Jessie

            I agree that “Celia” fits better. I’ve also heard the term “silly yak” as a pun on “celiac” so you could consider a yak…but I don’t know if there are copyright concerns since it has been used before.

            May 21, 2019 at 2:33 pm
  • Al Reply

    Might they be selling gluten free pasta shells down by the seashore?

    May 21, 2019 at 2:07 pm
  • Tricia Thompson Reply

    Another suggestion that was emailed to me: A Seal named Ceil E. Ack or Seil E. Ack or Ceilly Ack

    May 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm
  • Tricia Thompson Reply

    Another name suggestion was emailed to me–CeCe. So what do you all think of CeCe the Celiac Chameleon?

    May 21, 2019 at 4:45 pm
  • Kathy Reply

    All great ideas. I also like anything that gets the medical community to “think outside the box.” I’ve often thought of celiac as “silly acts”. My two silly kids… So I’m really drawn to the silly-yak and the yak is very trendy right now. The body of the yak makes that “box” I mentioned. The yak might also be too branded as well…. The chameleon is appropriate as we are all shapes and colors….You’re heading down the right road. Anxious to see what you come up with. I love your weekly goals. Keeping us all motivated and fighting the cause.

    May 21, 2019 at 6:11 pm
    • Al Reply

      I like CeCe the best so far or another name that’s not direct or clever derivative of the word celiac ie Silly Yak. I feel that’s too cartoonish. While I love cartoons and I like to have fun as the next guy, but I think it’s important to be taken seriously. Having good name would help that, IMHO

      Keep up the great work.


      May 21, 2019 at 7:13 pm
      • Al Reply

        CeCe can also talk about the risks of cross-contact (CC). 🙂

        May 21, 2019 at 7:15 pm
  • Nicole Reply

    I love CeCe the Celiac chameleon! That sounds great and a chameleon really is a wonderful representation of CD. Thank you for all you do for us!

    May 22, 2019 at 12:32 am
    • Bret Reply

      CeCe will also work well with the youngsters. CeCe the Celiac chameleon will work really well in a rap tune. I’m not a rap-ster by any means, though in the right up-lifting beat and ‘clear speak’ would bring awareness to the youth who for the most part are very confused about the issue of gluten and the things that bother their body.

      At the moment, my kids and I are listening to an educational rap about the names of the months by Jack Hartmann

      Or pick a style of music that still reaches the kids, create a tune that will stick in their heads for awareness even when adults can’t be immediately around to spread a warning of gluten.

      May 29, 2019 at 1:39 am
  • Tricia Thompson Reply

    A second email suggesting we use a seal as the mascot–celiac seal.

    May 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm
  • Andrea Reply

    How about the name “Cee” – not definitely male or female (although I know of a woman with the name). And not as juvenile sounding maybe (?). I think it is important to consider that aspect – to be taken more seriously across the board. Especially in the medical community.
    The concept of “Cee Celiac” can also be interpreted as “see/seeing” celiac disease with all its challenges.
    Using an animal as the mascot may backfire – in this world we are living in….
    Perhaps a design using the name in a logo-type way would come across as more professional and understandable. Or a simple face with defined eyes – going with the Cee/see Celiac message.
    The buttons in the different languages are really an excellent idea. Nice work Tricia!

    May 22, 2019 at 2:38 pm

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