Jim's Story

Jim Shmerling headshot

A Father’s Dedication All fathers wish the absolute best for their children. Best known for their great big bear hugs and their strong shoulders to stand on, dads offer endless love, support, and strength.

But what happens when your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness?

Jim Shmerling, President and CEO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, has seen his fair share of pediatric illness – all the tears from the unknown to the sighs of relief when a child leaves the hospital happy and healthy, ready to take on the world. He’s always prepared to have the tough conversations, knowing he and his colleagues will always do everything they can to support these families through trying times.

But all of that was tested when his own daughter was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

“As a father, when my kids were young, healing their bumps and bruises was often as simple as a quick kiss.”

Now, with an adult daughter living with Crohn’s disease, a chronic, life-long autoimmune disease, he sometimes struggles to connect father, caregiver, and dedicated hospital CEO.

“I sometimes feel helpless as a father. I can’t take away her pain or day-to-day struggles with her other symptoms.”

When his daughter was diagnosed, he knew he had to find ways to support her on this new journey. After finding the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, he began participating in Take Steps, the signature fundraising walk event dedicated to supporting Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients.

“I can be helpful. By forming a team and walking in Hartford, I can raise funds for research. Not just for my daughter, but for all children suffering with this disease.”

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center sees hundreds of pediatric patients being treated for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) every year. By inviting those families to walk on event day, Jim makes a bold commitment that goes far beyond treatment within the halls of Connecticut Children’s.

“We at Connecticut Children’s look forward to walking side-by-side with our patients and their families. It strengthens the bond between patient and physician, leading to better overall care of our patients.”

Each day, Jim thinks about his daughter and wonders what the future holds for her. He knows she can move mountains so he works extra hard to keep his promise to do everything he can to find a cure for her.

Jim and the team at Connecticut Children’s are walking in Hartford on team Gutz n’ Glory. He invites everyone affected by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to join him. http://online.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/goto/ccmc



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