A DUNFERMLINE mum is shining a light on Coeliac as part of a national campaign.

Leanne Scott, from Headwell, will walk 50 kilometres in May to raise funds – and awareness – for Coeliac UK as two of her three children were diagnosed with the condition as toddlers.

Her sons, Elijah, 10, and five-year-old Micaiah, are now both coping with Coeliac, however, the family faced a major battle with both boys to get a diagnosis with months of suffering before they eventually got tested.

The disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten and can cause a range of symptoms, including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.

Both boys suffered severe symptoms before getting their respective diagnosis which included severe vomiting, pain and bowel issues.

"It shouldn't have taken so long," she said. "We had to fight for three years for our youngest to be tested for coeliac disease, even though the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that siblings and parents should be tested regardless of symptoms.

"Our youngest didn't sleep, had bowel problems, behavioural problems caused by lack of sleep and being in constant pain.

"It was heartbreaking to go through this knowing that a test may be the answer to our problems but we were constantly refused one."

Once they were tested, the boys – who both now attend McLean Primary – were placed on gluten-free diets which Leanne said made an "incredible difference" within days.

"They are totally used to it and we are used to it," she said. "We have to be careful about cross-contamination. For our eldest, one crumb of gluten and that is him really ill for a few hours.

"It has been eight years and a bit and I would say less than five times he has had that but he reacts really violently whereas with the youngest, we don't really know. We cannot really eat out anywhere.

"It is about raising awareness as using gluten-free bread is great but then they put it in the same toaster as the normal bread. There can be wheat in hot chocolate and some squashes have barley in them so we have to ask the questions when we do go out."

Coeliac UK's annual awareness week takes place between May 10-16 and Leanne is keen to do her bit.

"They have been really, really helpful with both of our children," she said. "They do a week of awareness every year – this year it is for children, raising awareness to make it easier for children and young people to live well. I thought we are definitely taking that on board."