An Overland Park mom taking "steps" to find a cure for her daughter's disease

Rebecca Crockett
September 23, 2019 - 4:00 am

Kati Bernard

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Overland Park, KS - Ashlee was just two when the severe pains in her stomach started.

It took one failed test and nine months of doctor appointments to diagnose her with celiac disease, an immune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine if gluten is consumed. Kati Bernard says her daughter is nine now, and she struggles remembering what "real" food tastes like.

"One of my most vivid memories is when we went to Chick-fil-A with a group of her friends. She stole one of their "regular" chicken nuggets and hid under the table trying to shove it in her mouth as fast as she could," recalls Kati.

Kati says she was surprised by people's criticism.

"The hardest thing is people rolling there eyes and saying, oh, you're just another one of those fads," Kati said. "It's hurtful because she has to have it for medical reasons, she cannot have gluten."

Ashlee is protected from that this weekend at the Step Beyond Celiac 5K. It's full of gluten-free food vendors, and a silent auction, featuring a Patrick Mahomes football and jersey.  Kati says for a couple of hours, on one day, the world is safe for her daughter.  

The 5K is aimed at raising funds to support new research to help find a cure for the estimated three-million people across the country who suffer with the disease.

The race starts at 8 a.m. Sunday at Community America Ballpark.

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