Catie and Sonja Take a Hike
It's Catie and Sonja again.
In 2020 we were going to head to Denver to run a half marathon there, due to COVID we have had to change plans. Instead we will be traveling to Zion with Team Challenge to take a hike!
We are about $700 short of our goal of $10,000! If we are able to hit this Sonja and I will have raised close to $30,000 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation! I appreciate how much support we have recieved over the years. For those of you new to our fundraising journey, here is our story.
Sonja and I became friends when we were five years old, we are now 26. When I turned 10 I became ill. I started to lose weight, I was going to the bathroom a lot, I was tired all the time, and in pain. People thought I had an eating disorder and parents whispered amongst themselves over whether or not I was being taken care of. Doctor's assumed the same. When I had dropped 20lbs doctors finally became concerned and started running tests. In September of 2006 at 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.
I had no idea what it meant to have a chronic ilness at 11. All I knew was that people were afraid to sit next to me on the bus in case I was contagious, teachers were unforgiving of my absenses, and kids bullied my size. Through it all though Sonja has been my friend.
Trends similar to this continued as I grew up. I was hospitalized roughly every other year through college. I always got better so I never took Crohn's that seriously. Due to misunderstanding, youth, and a lack of education, I thought that hospitalization and steriods was the worst it could get.
I learned that I was wrong. During my college career I stopped getting better. Eventually I was going to the bathroom 20+ times a day, I had lost 30 lbs, I was tired all the time, I was in such intense pain I couldn't always walk, if I took too big of a sip of water that would upset my stomach enough I'd vomit. Sonja was there, trying to find herbal remedies to help, making hospital get well kits, and being a rock for me when my health was so unstable.
My GI told me that I needed surgery. I was 21 years old. When I met with my surgeon I quickly realized how bad this was. He told me that if left untreated it was likely I could die in two weeks due to malnourishment. I was put under the knife and offered an opportunity for a second chance.
I am short roughly 18 inches of my intestines but with it has come life. I have been offerend a second chance. It was difficult to grapple with death at such a young age, but what I have learned has allowed me to grab at new opportunities.
Since then I have learned how to beekeep, I have worked in the Redwoods, I have worked with black bears in Alaska, and my new journey will be returning to school to pursue a Doctorate of Occupation Therapy. Despite my illness I have not lost sight of myself and the possibilities that life can hold and this is in large part due to my support system.
I first came to discover the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation when I attend Camp Oasis at 14 years old. I was a camper for 4 years and have returned as a counselor for the past 8 years.This camp is a huge part of the reason I never lost hope. I met adults and other children with this disease who could still live their lives. I learned that a future was possible.
I owe my health and my mindset to this foundation. They created and fund Camp Oasis, they fund research initiaives to better medicines and surgical treatment, they offer information sessions and support groups. This foundation is life changing and thatis why I choose to fundraise.
I feel so lucky to have a best friend to support me through this. Through the experiences we have shared we have come to love running and hiking and cherish the opportunity to do these things together while making a difference.
Thank you everyone for supporting Sonja and I in our journey and for becoming apart of it.
I love you all!
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