Honored Heroes are ambassadors for Take Steps and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation as a whole. As patients and healthcare professionals, they are the voice and face, the heart and soul of our walks. Honored Heroes are nominated annually and help raise awareness of IBD through their promotions and fundraising for Take Steps in their local community. They are dedicated to publicly sharing their story and providing a strong example of progress we are making in the fight against IBD. Their commitment to increasing awareness and revenue by engaging their community, family and friends is truly inspiring. Connect with your local walk staff to nominate an Honored Hero today!
2021 Adult Honored Hero - Katherine Rennick
My name is Katherine and I am so touched to have been nominated to serve as an Honored Hero for this year's Take Steps. The collective tenacity and resiliency of the IBD patient community and support of friends and family is tuly inspiring, and I feel honored to help be a voice for all of you.
My journey with IBD has been a long one -- and, like many patients, it hasn't been an easy one. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease as a teenager, right before my 14th birthday. And now an adult at the age of 30, I have stuggled with this chronic illness for most of my life.
My journey with this chronic illness has been one of many surgeries and hospitalizations. Of countless medications, treatments and procedures. Of more unknowns than knowns. My journey with Crohn's disease has not been one of finding a treatment that puts me into long-term remission, or having a surgery that fixes things for the foreseeable future. I know that's not the kind of journey that typically inspires hope, but stories of smooth sailing are not the reality for many patients. Even so, I'm here because I've learned that hope can be found in choppy waters as well.
"Crohn's patient" is not a label anyone hopes for -- and while sometimes that label can feel all-consuming, I intentionally make the choice to not let it be. It does not describe all of who I am. Rather, I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister. I'm an aunt, a friend, an employee and an advocate. And while it continues to be far from an easy journey, it's a journey I'm proud of because it's been one of relentlessly searching for, finding, and holding onto hope. Hope to simply keep taking the next step, even if I'm not quite sure where it will lead or how I will get there.
And that's why I Take Steps -- for hope. Hope for a cure, hope for better treatments, hope for a better quality of life for all IBD patients and their caregivers. Will you join me in Taking Steps this year?
2021 Youth Honored Hero-Aubrey Looper
Aubrey was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2016 when she was 4 1/2 years old. She displayed mild symptoms for about a year leading up to the diagnosis so when her first round of scopes showed severe inflammation, we were all shocked. Over the next 2 years her health rapidly declined; she had 2 hospital stays, blood transfusions, iron infusions and she failed all the therapies she was prescribed (Remicade, Humira, Steroids, diets, etc.) She had a recurring c-diff infection that took months of treatment to resolve and about a year into her journey she was also diagnosed with Anemia. In the Spring of 2018, just as we were starting to have consultations with a surgeon at Nationwide Children's Hospital, she started Entyvio and saw improvement almost immediately. She has continued to stay healthy and in remission for the last 2 years.
Even when Aubrey was sick, she still went to school, raced BMX bikes, participated in gymnastics, played soccer, danced, and was in Girl Scouts. Last year she started all-star cheer and has found her passion. She loves tumbling, stretching and pulling her body positions so she can be a flyer for her team. She is the strongest person we know and no matter what she is going through, always has a smile on her face and positive attitude.
We are so lucky to have her team at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Dr. Boyle and Melanie Oates are so supportive and caring. Our family will never be able to thank them enough for all the time they took returning phone calls, answering all our questions, replying to every email, and truly allowing us to have a voice in all decisions made in regard to her treatment.
Aubrey is so excited to be the youth Honored Hero for the 2021 Take Steps walk. We hope that reading Aubrey's story can help other parents with young children that are newly diagnosed or struggling to find remission know they are not alone and remission is possible.