"These people have been Celiac for ten-plus years, most of them have," said Jacie Vasek, who attends and helps lead the group. "And they come for the treats that we eat every week and for the new experience to find out what's going on in everyone's life."
At their meetings, the Celiac support group talks about where to eat, and where not to eat. They share recipes and tips with one another. But it's about more than the gluten-free diet.
"It just makes it a lot more easier. And, any of these people, if I was ever in the hospital or if I ever need anything, they would come and bring us stuff. And that's what it's about," Jacie said.
Jacie was diagnosed when she was 12. Her doctor recommended that she and her mother go to the support group, and they've been attending ever since. Now, she's 21 and the pair have been running the meetings for the last five years. And now, she's turning it into career as a nutritionist.
"Now I can talk to people about diabetes, I can talk to people about other illnesses and I can have my lever saying you know, I've done it since I was 12, and I know what it's like to go on a diet, so we can work at this together," she said.
But when talking to Jacie, you'll quickly learn that it isn't about helping herself, it's about what she can do for others.
"And I found that this is how I can help people. I can teach them about Celiac Disease, I can teach them about a gluten free diet," Jacie said. "And it's making a positive outcome in their lives and in my life. Because I can learn from them just as much as they can learn from me."
The Celiac support group meets the second Saturday of every other month at Abilene Regional Medical Center.