Atlanta Take Steps

Leila, age 12, first hospital visit
Leila, age 12, first hospital visit

Guardians of the Gas-lxy

My name is Leila Miles. I am 23 years old this February. I was first diagnosed with Crohn's at age 13 around late 2012, a decade ago. This is my story.

Around December 2012, I was admitted to the emergency room with severe stomach pains, internal bleeding, anemia, nausea, etc. I remember when I went to my pediatrician before being admitted, her last question to me was, "Have you been to anywhere foreign or exotic?" in reference to my symptoms. My mother, Megan, and I began to realize how serious this situation was becoming. I was admitted to the hospital immediately after that doctor's visit, per my pediatrician’s advice. I was in the hospital for countless days. I won't give the gruesome details, but it was an excruciating moment in my life. Upon a colonoscopy, the doctors diagnosed me with Crohn's, alerting me this would affect the rest of my life. At first, I wasn't fazed by the news. I just figured it would be something in the background I would live with. And it was, for a while at least. Until it wasn't.

My freshman year of college, around the late first semester, my Crohn's began declining at an exponential speed. I was going to the hospital every other week, being admitted to the emergency room multiple times, seeing doctors almost every day, and missing weeks of class at a time. My grades, just like my disease, took a turn for the worst. This is how the majority of my college years went; the repetitive pattern of seeing a new doctor, getting on a new treatment, and feeling worse and worse every time. This pattern repeated until I had run through every medication on the market. Like, the ones you see infomercials for. I had nothing left to try, and nothing left to give.

Late into my junior year of college, I met a doctor who changed my life: Dr. David Schwartz at Vanderbilt, in Tennessee. He truly had a genuine passion for my well-being and did not stop trying until we found a combination of medicine that worked uniquely for my rare severity of disease. At this point, it was near the end of my senior year of college, and I had gone through multiple combinations of medicine for Crohn's, an FDA trial, and even medicine for other diseases.

Finally, I am stable at this point in my life. Although I have recently begun declining in health again, I am nowhere near the point I was when I met Dr. Schwartz.
The reason for my passion behind this fundraiser is for children, teens, and adults like me, to receive the upmost care for their disease, including all ranges of severity. If there is one thing that I've learned, insurance doesn't cover anything. They don't cover the depression, the anxiety attacks, the extreme weight losses and gains, or the overall mental impact this disease can do to you.

I am asking you to donate whatever portion of my goal you can in order to prevent this disease from eating others alive, as I once was, and still am. Every action is a form of donation, from $1,000 to just clicking share. I hope my story gives you a reason to fight, even if it is for a reason different than my own.

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Millions of Americans are living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and currently there is no cure. Our team is walking and raising money to support the crucial work of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Take Steps is the Foundation’s largest nationwide fundraising campaign, helping to accelerate the progress of breakthrough research and to support critical patient programs. Take Steps also brings the community together in a fun, family-friendly, and supportive atmosphere and lets patients know they have a community who supports them.

Please help us reach our team goal of $10,000.00 for Take Steps Atlanta by donating or registering and fundraising. Your support will help the Foundation invest in cures for the future, while providing support to patients today.

Leaders in Research: The Foundation has invested more than $400 million in research toward cures since its inception. They remain laser-focused on reducing time to disease diagnosis and improving disease management. The Foundation continues to lead the way in critically important areas of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research, and to accelerate novel therapies and innovative products that address unmet patient needs. 

Empowering Patients and Caregivers: The Foundation serves millions of patients annually, and empowers both patients and caregivers through education, support, and advocacy programs. Examples include COVID-19 resources, expanded pediatric support, influencing legislation, and focusing on diversity and inclusion. 

Do you know someone who is affected by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis? Join our team and share our fundraising page to spread awareness in the community!

 
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