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On November 1st I will be running the New York City Marathon in memory of my beautiful friend Melissa Stokes, who suffered through Crohn's & Colitis for many years. Being able to run in memory for her and to raise awareness to the crippling disease she had is how i pay tribute to my friend who meant the world to me.
Many people are unaware of the effects of the disease and do not understand the pain they go through. However, this disease did not stop her from being there for me. She was always the first to call or volunteer for anything without being asked or wanting anything in return. When my dad had triple bypass surgery just 2 miles from my house, she even volunteered to take care of my animals. She understood the emotional toll illnesses can take on a family and wanted to do anything she could to help-that is just the kind of person she was.
Although i could talk forever about what an amazing friend she was, I have to mention what an amazing mom she was. I met Melissa when Riley was about 3 and my daughter was soon to become her babysitter. I could tell right away that Riley was the center of her life. Melissa, Riley, and Matt were always on the move pushing and cheering Riley on at whatever new sport or hobby she was tyring out next. I never heard her complain about how much pain she was in when she was with Riley. She didn't care, she was going to be there for her. She faced her pain with humor and a smile on her face.
I don't know what I did right for God to place Melissa in my life, but I thank him for that everyday. I wish i had more time with her, but i am grateful for all the silly outrageous memories i have of her like our Target runs, birthday celebrations, RGS quotes of the day, talking about our sisters and how overprotective she was (being the younger sister i always took her sister's side!) and the BSing that we did at work. I miss you Melissa and i know that you will be watching from above. #TeamChallengeMelissaStokes
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affects almost 1 in 100 people. They are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. Many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgery. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35; however the incidence is increasing in children.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD.
Please join me and donate today to help fight Chron's & Colitis!
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Belinda S Hale
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