Our campaign hits the small screen
Coeliac UK’s first ever TV campaign aims to capture the attention of people living with undiagnosed coeliac disease and help them towards a diagnosis. The 30 second piece was voiced by our wonderful Patron Caroline Quentin, a huge thank you to her. Our campaign aired in June 2015 and September 2016 and has been seem by around 10 million people. Raising awareness in this way has encouraged tens of thousands of people suffering with ongoing symptoms to take our online assessment for coeliac disease. We plan to air this campaign again in 2017. Our TV campaign has been made possible by support from Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Highlighting the symptoms
Our campaign presents some of the most commonly reported symptoms of coeliac disease. We hope that people who recognise these symtpoms in themselves take the first step to discvoer whether or not coelaic disease is the cause. Featured in our campaign are Lee, Dawn, Paul and Maria, who all have coeliac disease, who have helped us to capture these impactful impages. Our posters, leaflets and online ads have been used widely across the UK to help us to find the half a million people in the UK living with undiagnosed coelaic disease.
Lee - I suffered with horrific mouth ulcers
Lee, 44 from Leamington Spa, suffered with mouth ulcers on a regular basis as well as diarrhoea, wind, abdominal pain and aching joints. After being tested for various conditions, Lee received a positive blood test result and biopsy for coeliac disease and is now doing really well on her gluten-free diet.
Paul - I suffered with terrible stomach pains
Paul, 39, a writer from Parsons Green in London, experienced serious stomach pains and bloating before diagnosis and felt ill after every meal. Having lived with these painful symptoms for several years, Paul had enough and after proper investigation by his GP with a blood test and referral for biopsy, he was diagnosed with coeliac disease. Since joining Coeliac UK as a Member, Paul knows he’s not alone and finds the iPhone app very useful when eating out and shopping.
Maria - I suffered with frequent bouts of diarrhoea
Maria, 46 from High Wycombe, lived for almost 20 years with gut problems that included frequent bouts of diarrhoea, constipation and stomach cramps, which she put down to having a sensitive gut or IBS. Frequent changes in diet, including a high protein diet alleviated her symptoms somewhat but after having a baby and experiencing new symptoms of constant mouth ulcers and fatigue, Maria knew something wasn’t right and visited her GP who tested her for coeliac disease.
Dawn - I suffered with crippling fatigue
Dawn, 30 from Edinburgh, is a keen runner and first experienced symptoms of coeliac disease while training for her first half marathon. After putting it down to just having a bad day of training, Dawn began to experience her symptoms - prolonged fatigue and anaemia - more and more often. Her extreme fatigue meant she was taking afternoon naps very frequently, and this prompted her to go to the doctors where a blood test and biopsy confirmed she had coeliac disease.
New symptom for 2016
In 2016 we added new impages to the campaign to highlight the importance of investigating the causes of iron, B12 or folate deficiency anaemias. Getting checked out is important as 30-50% of patients with coeliac disease have iron-deficiency anemia at diagnosis.
David - I was drained by anaemia for years
David from Banbury wasn’t diagnosed with coeliac disease until he was 32 years old, despite being diagnosed with anaemia at 18 and experiencing other symptoms including abdominal pain, fatigue and diarrhoea. Now, years later, he feels much better and couldn’t be more grateful to have been diagnosed. As coeliac disease can run in families, his diagnosis also helped to ensure that his daughter was diagnosed at a young age.
Hazel - I was drained by anaemia for years
Hazel from Brize Norton was diagnosed when she was 27 years old. She began experiencing symptoms in her early twenties including extreme fatigue possibly due to anaemia, recurring infections, mouth ulcers, loss of tooth enamel, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. It took moving to a new town and a new doctor’s surgery to finally find out what was wrong and getting diagnosed. She says her gluten-free diet has “helped me feel like myself again”. Hazel encourages anyone experiencing symptoms to get tested as “no one should have to suffer for as long as I did”.
Get hold of campaign materials
If you are holding an event or looking to support our campaign in any way we might be able to help by providing posters, leaflets or symptoms cards. If you are having an event and would like some materials to help you spread the word about coeliac disease go to the supporter resources page to order. You can also find these details on the about coeliac disease page. If you have a different enquiry about the campaign please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
At your GP surgery
Our campaign includes some materials that have been produced specifically for a healthcare settings. Our campaign has included posters, leaflets in 9,000 GP surgeries across the UK and video has been playing on 1,500 NHS screens. Hopefully you will see these when you next visit your your local NHS.
If you work in the NHS we'd like you to get involved in our campaign. If you'd like some help to get started, please visit the HCP section of the supporter resources page. If you're a healthcare professional and would like to refresh your knowledge about coeliac disease, please visit the healthcare professional resources page.
Reaching out on the high street
We've now completed our series of seven pop-up outreach events to support our campaign. Our stand was open for 35 days from May 2015 to August 2016 in London, Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Newcastle. We couldn't have completed these events without the help of some 30 volunteers who donated their time to raising awareness and sharing their experience with others. In total we distributed 25,000 campaign leaflets and provided 13,000 gluten-free snacks. Thank you to everyone who visited our pop up stand, and please remember to calll our helpline if you have any questions left unanswered on 0333 332 2033.
Over the seven weeks we tested almost 500 people who were experiencing symptoms of coeliac disease, with 17% referred to their GP for further investigation following a positive test result using the point of care test Simtomax. We would like to thank Tillotts Pharma Ltd. for supporting these events by providing staff and test kits.
We'd also like to thank our commercial supporters who generously provided samples of gluten-free products for these events, they were: Kent and Fraser, Dr Schaer, Peach of Cake, Walker Shortbread, Doves Farm, Co Fresh, Nature's Path, Gluten-free Goodies, Wholebake, Genius, No.G, Delicious Alchemy, Eat Natural, Byron Bay Cookie Co, Darling Spuds, Orgran, Big Bear Confectionery and Gluten Free Foods Ltd.
We'd also like to thank M&S, proud sponsors of Coeliac UK campaigns.