with ulcerative colitis
starts with my digestive issues as a baby and a hospitalization in my teens. I was finally diagnosed in my early twenties (30+ years ago), and it was a huge adjustment to take medications daily and plan any ventures outside my home in advance (to ensure access to the nearest restroom). Medications and some diet modification eventually helped me achieve remission.
In my early thirties, my brother Bob was diagnosed with colitis, but his disease turned out to be more acute and serious. It was now obvious that there was a genetic component to our illness, and I worry about passing it along to my daughter. So far, I have been relieved that she seems to have my husband’s healthy immune system.
Unfortunately, in 2015, my niece Sarah (Bob's daughter), was diagnosed with UC at the age of 13. She spent 19 days of the holiday season in the hospital. I will never forget receiving a message from her mother on Christmas morning telling me that the doctors were worried that Sarah was too weak to survive emergency surgery should the next medication not work. That was the moment I realized I needed to take action.
I joined Team Challenge & quickly found a second family. Not only did it allow me to raise funds to find cures, it provided me with a forum to finally speak freely about the devastating & embarrassing effects of IBD.
Almost everyone on my team had a connection to IBD and understood what my family was going through. I could finally let go of the shame and guilt that I had dealt with for so long living a life with IBD.
The whole experience was completely life changing, from the inspirational pasta party, to the constant support of Team Challenge coaches from across the country checking in with me throughout the race. My teammates cheered me on as they passed (and took the occasional selfie), and my niece Sarah was even there to walk the last mile with me. Though I was dead last, the sea of orange and blue that greeted me and carried me across the finish line was amazing, and I was proud to have walked all 13.1 miles.
I crossed that finish line, but I know that the race isn’t over yet because we still don’t have cures. The patient resources, research, care standards, and support provided by The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation are just too important for me to stop. I have to continue walking and running with Team Challenge, because no one, especially children, should have to suffer. That’s why I joined the team again – I just completed another event in New Orleans, and am already signed up for both Napa and Saratoga Springs in the summer of 2017.
Join our Family!
Have your local team manager contact you to help you take the first step, meet our team, and try us out- I'd love for you to join me!