An 11-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease last year is to ride across the country to raise money for the charity that helped him and his family adjust to the condition.
Archie Street, accompanied by his father Matt and friend Graeme Ashworth, will be making the 175-mile ride across the Sustrans Cycleway from Northumberland to Cumbria during the May half-term.
The trio will be supported by Archie’s mother Teresa, who will follow by van.
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten intake through foods and can manifest itself at anytime during a persons life.
Archie had suffered with stomach pain for 12 months before being diagnosed, although it hadn’t stopped him from being a typical, energetic lad.
Matt said: “It started gently and over the course of the year it became progressively worse, particularly at night it became really really sore.”
Teresa added: “Symptoms can vary a lot in children, sometimes they can have lots and sometimes they can have just one or two symptoms.”
After Archie’s diagnosis the family contacted Coeliac UK who have been a source of invaluable information and advice.
Matt said: “They gave us advice and feedback about how to change his diet, the changes you have to do in your home to make sure that you don’t cross contaminate.”
The family have made big changes to ensure Archie is not exposed to gluten, including designating part of the kitchen as a gluten free zone although other adjustments have been more difficult.
Matt said: “Eating out, that’s definitely a challenge.”
Most supermarkets now have a gluten free section or at least adequate labelling to check for gluten content. There is even an Coeliac UK app that allows you to scan products and check for gluten content.
Archie has taken the switch to his new diet in his stride and the stomach aches are a thing of the past.
Archie said: “It was a few weeks before I started getting better.”
There are a few things, however, that Archie does miss.
He said: “The food is nearly the same, the pasta is different, you can definitely taste the difference and bread. You can’t get a good loaf of crusty bread anymore.”
Archie added: “Going to friend’s houses for dinner, that’s really difficult.”
The family hope to raise as much money as they can for the charity so that families like them can transition into the world of gluten free zones and new dietary requirements as easily as possible.
They will set off on the ride on May 30 and hope to finish on Friday June 2.
To sponsor Archie visit his Justgiving page.