Running to Bring Awareness - Kathy Flanagan
It was the summer before my senior year of high school when I underwent surgery to remove 6 inches of my small intestine and 12 inches of my large intestine. My pathological diagnosis: Crohn's Disease
I was 17 years old when I experienced an event that made me see the world from an entirely different perspective. It is in these moments of impact that we are forced to re-examine our life and what we intend to accomplish.
Ever since I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, I have had numerous gastroenterologist appointments, capsule endoscopies, colonoscopies, and blood tests to find the right treatment plan for my illness. Thankfully, I am currently in DEEP Remission!
I haven't shared my story with many people since my diagnosis. In fact, it has taken me a long time to feel comfortable discussing my illness openly with others, to include some of my closest friends. Let's be honest, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) has never been accepted as the most "socially appropriate" topic to discuss. It wasn't until I moved to Austin, TX in 2012 and signed up for Team Challenge, that I was able to come to terms with my illness. I finally found a group of people who fully understood what I was going through both emotionally and physically. With Team Challenge, I have a group of friends who continue to challenge each other and strive to improve the lives of others through sharing our personal experiences. I never thought I could run 13.1 miles, but I have already completed six (6) races and aim to finish a 7th!
Team Challenge Marathons Completed So Far:
- Napa to Sonoma July 20, 2014 (Participant) Time: 02:24:56 Fundraised: $7,500
- Dallas Rock n' Roll December 14, 2014 (Mentor) Time: 02:20:21 Fundraised: $1,900
- Dublin Rock n' Roll August 2, 2015 (Participant) Time: 02:22:16 Fundraised: $4,400
- New Orleans Rock n' Roll February 28, 2016 (Mentor) Time: 2:34:25 Fundraised: $2,160
- Berlin Marathon Major September 24, 2017 (Participant) Time: 05:17:47 Fundraised: $5,646
- Austin Half Marathon February 17, 2019 (Participant) Time: 02:32:15 Fundraised: $1,900
I'm excited to be running the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) on September 4, 2022 to help raise funds and awareness for research leading to improved treatment options and a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis!
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation was founded in 1967 and their mission is to cure Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis and to improve the quality of life of those affected by this disease. It was only one of 6 "A" rated charities ranked in a recent watchdog report. They rank among the top leading health non-profit organizations and use their funding extremely well - over 83 cents per dollar goes directly to the foundation.
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