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  • Writer's pictureJon Bari

Gracie Hunt Applauds Jax - Increase Federal Funding for Celiac Research & Require Gluten Labeling

Clark Hunt, Tavia Hunt, Gracie Hunt, Lexi Bari, Jon Bari, Leslie Bari (back row, left to right), and Jax Bari (center)

On October 3, 2021, Jax met with the Gracie Hunt and her parents, Tavia and Clark Hunt (Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs) before the Eagles-Chiefs game in Philadelphia (Chiefs won 42-30).

Gracie also has Celiac Disease, a potentially life-threatening food allergy triggered by eating Gluten, and she shares many of the same goals as Jax. Gracie gave Jax an inspirational message that Celiac should not hold him back from anything, and that he can do anything he wants when he grows up. Gracie posted the following to Instagram,

"Meet Jax! He's a confident, friendly 8-year-old who loves sports. Jax lives in Philadelphia with his wonderful family. Besides our shared fandom of soccer and football (he's an Eagles fan, but also a @PatrickMahomes fan!), Jax and I also both live with Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune disease that affects 3 million Americans. Researchers are finding that Celiac Disease prevalence is doubling approximately every 15 years, making it a public health epidemic. Gluten ingestion for people with Celiac causes permanent immunological scarring, doubles the risk of heart disease, and acts as a carcinogen. The only available treatment is strict adherence to lifelong, gluten-free diet. However, there is no such thing as a truly gluten-free diet because of the constant risk of cross contact with gluten. Gluten is in 80% of our foods. In addition, the high price of gluten-free food and the fact that gluten is not required to be labeled on packaged foods is an issue for those who suffer from Celiac Disease.

I'm supporting Jax in his effort to increase Federal funding for Celiac Disease research and pushing that it become mandatory to label gluten as a top food allergen. Together we can raise awareness and make a difference for those living with CD."

About Gracie Hunt & Her Celiac Journey

In addition to being a philanthropist and the reigning Miss Kansas USA, Gracie is an avid sports fan, fitness enthusiast, and works in Public Relations for the Kansas City Chiefs, while also currently pursuing her Master’s in Sport Management at the University of Kansas.

On May 25, 2021, Gracie spoke with Alice Bast, the CEO of Beyond Celiac in a great Celiac Straight Talk podcast.

"In this episode of the Celiac Straight Talk podcast, Beyond Celiac CEO Alice Bast sits down with Miss Kansas USA Gracie Hunt as she recounts her transition from competitive athletics to the world of pageantry, and how her celiac disease journey has influenced her decisions along the way. This introspective conversation on unwanted, unexpected change and the stigma surrounding celiac disease has insights for anyone struggling to come to terms with a life that they could never have predicted."

Our Gratitude to Gracie

Meeting with the Hunt family was especially uplifting during an otherwise very sad weekend for Jax and our family. On October 2, 2021, my father (Jax's beloved grandpa) who was the patriarch of the Bari family, passed away at the age of 98 (one month before turning 99). We were blessed by so many great years, and Jax was very close to his grandfather who took so much pride in all that Jax does, including his Celiac advocacy. When we thought about rescheduling our meeting, we decided that we would pay tribute to my dad's spirit in making the most out of everyday, and we are so glad that we did. So even though Jax was really sad, Gracie helped make Jax smile that weekend, and that was priceless.

Jax was so sweet to Gracie, and on that Sunday morning, he curated a gift bag with many of his favorite and healthy Gluten Free snacks and wrote the following to Gracie.

"Dear Gracie, Welcome to Philly! Eating without fear is our hope! Food insecurity happens everyday for Celiacs! I'd love to work with you to make our lives better for 3 million Americans with Celiac! Can you please help me? When I travel it's hard to find safe food that's GF. Please enjoy these treats. Sincerely, Jax"

Gracie, next time you are in Philadelphia, Jax wants to race you up the Rocky Steps! Hey Siri, cue the Rocky theme song Gonna Fly Now!


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