Coeliac sufferer Brenda Saye, watches as her son Brody Watkins illustrates one of the problems of coeliac disease.
Coeliac sufferer Brenda Saye, watches as her son Brody Watkins illustrates one of the problems of coeliac disease.

A birthday celebrated without cake ... or beer

By LEIGH PRITCHARD

THERE will be no cake at Brody Watkins' 13th birthday and there will be no beer at his 18th.

Brody and his mother Brenda Saye ? who both have coeliac disease ? have spoken about their plight to mark Coeliac Awareness Week which begins today.

People with the disease cannot digest gluten and ? although it affects more than 250,000 Australians fewer than one in five are aware they have it.

Coeliac disease can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and cancer if not treated.

In a weak moment at a friend's birthday party, Year 7 student Brody decided to have a small slice of cake; by morning he had abdominal pain which his mother, likened to appendicitis.

Mrs Saye was diagnosed in June 2004 and Brody was diagnosed in December.

Mrs Saye said her symptoms began after she had her third child and as soon as she was diagnosed they tested children Joel Watkins, 15 and Kelly Saye, 7, neither of whom had the disease.

Brody has suffered abdominal migraines every three to four months since he was five.

"When you go to the doctor they think you are a hypochondriac but I knew something was not right," Mrs Saye said.

Mrs Saye said she and Brody had trouble when they went out to dinner when restaurants did not know what coeliac disease was or how to cater to their needs.

"When you go out to dinner it is not very good," Brody said.

And when Brody stays at a friend's house his mother packs food for him and rings the parents in advance.

"Some of my friends know, they are slowly finding out," Brody said.

Mrs Saye said South Grafton High School was supportive of her son.



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