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Just over 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at the mere age of 16. The two years following that initial diagnosis were filled with undesirable symptoms, failed medical treatment with accompanied negative side-effects, and ultimately a 4 week hospital stay and surgery to remove 21 inches of my large and small intestine. It's a difficult dynamic to go from a healthy teenager who feels invincible, to wrapping my mind around the fact that my body is literally attacking itself and I could not control it. Why is this happening? How did this happen? What did I do or not do to cause this? Shame, fear, grief and anxiety were my constant companions as I navigated the wreckage that my body was inflicting. But also, a fighter inside of me was ignited.
It's natural as humans to want to make sense of the situations around us. We want a narrative to help us feel in control and find redemption in the places we can see no good. With that in mind, fresh out of the hospital, I set out looking for a way to be a victor and not a victim in this story. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) gave me the chance to do so. I embarked on a journey with others in similar situations train for a half-marathon and raise funds to go towards research for a cure. Over the last decade I have had my ups and downs with my this disease and my body; I've encountered challenges I never thought I would at this age AND I've also witnessed improvements in treatments thanks to the continuous research that is made possible through advocacy and fundraising! So, I'm at it again! I decided once again to make the difference that I can in the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. On September 17-18, 2022 I will participate in the 2XU Malibu Triathlon. This will be a big undertaking but it will all be worth it.
I Need Your Help!
Chances are, you know someone - or you know your aunt's hairdresser's nephew's best friend - who has Crohns or UC. Take a minute to pause. Think about their story. Think about mine. Right now, you have the chance to be apart of it! My minimum goal is to raise $2,000 but hopefully more! Would you consider a donation? It's not just money you're giving, it's hope.
So what is Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?
Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect millions of Americans. They are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive tract (mouth to anus as us Crohnie's often say), while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss and much more. 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.
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