Posts filed under ‘Team Challenge’
Today, May 19, marks the observance of World IBD Day, a day led by patient organizations across four continents to raise awareness and educate the public about inflammatory bowel diseases. Around the world, more than 5 million people live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, two debilitating digestive diseases that have detrimental effects on patients physically, emotionally, financially, and more. I know that my blog has been stagnant for months, but I figured today was a great day to return to it.
On World IBD Day last year, I talked about feeling defeated by the lack of progress being made for IBD patients. I was feeling pessimistic after the passing of a young IBD patient and a segment on a major news station that confused IBD with IBS. After a lot of thinking, I decided this year I wanted to be more optimistic.
I just returned from spending four days in Washington, D.C. as part of the IBD Social Circle, the online movement dedicated to bridging communications gaps and inspiring and educating the IBD community. While there, I got to spend time with some incredible IBD activists, like Ally Bain (the girl behind Ally’s Law/Restroom Access Act), Laura of Mangia Paleo, Brian of the Intense Intestines Foundation, Stephanie of The Stolen Colon, and so many more. I also was provided the opportunity to attend Digestive Disease Week, the world’s largest gathering of physicians and researchers in gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy, and gastrointestinal surgery. After spending a weekend surrounded by strong, passionate advocates and bloggers talking about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, I decided that this year’s post would be dedicated to thanks.
Today, my friend Ben shares his #ThisIsIBD story. Ben married my good college friend several years ago and this past summer, ran the Jamestown Half Marathon with us, his first race ever. Way to go!
Ben, 29, Crohn’s disease
During the fall semester of my senior year of college, I was studying abroad in South America. After about a month, I started having severe stomach pain and diarrhea. I thought that my body was just getting used to the Chilean food and water. In addition, one of my brothers had been in a severe car accident that caused me to fly home to Maryland for a week, so I thought that stress was a factor as well. However, the symptoms did not abate, and I lost close to 50 pounds. Stubbornly, I did not see a doctor until I returned home for good in the winter, and when I did I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
At first my symptoms were debilitating and I felt very unlike my usual self. However, after several months, I was able to get back to a normal weight and get my symptoms under control. Nevertheless, several of my other friends have not been so lucky. Having friends who have gone through surgery and have to endure monthly infusions of medication shows me how lucky I am compared to others.
For me, my Crohn’s disease has been a great motivator. I take several pills each day to keep my symptoms in check and get a bi-monthly blood test, but as long as I eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, Crohn’s remains a small part of my life. This past summer, I trained for and completed the Jamestown Half Marathon in Rhode Island as part of Team Challenge New England, and raised several thousand dollars for IBD research. This was the culmination of months of training and accomplishing something that I never thought I’d be able to do.
I still have bad days symptom-wise occasionally, but my Crohn’s disease does not define who I am. Crohn’s/IBD means a commitment to staying healthy and showing that life’s challenges can be overcome.
Today’s #ThisIsIBD story is from Laura. Laura is one of my good friends from Team Challenge who, despite having Crohn’s disease, is a speed demon half-marathoner many times over (she ran the Jamestown Half Marathon last year in 1:41).
Laura, 30, Crohn’s disease
I know that I have been radio silent on the blog for several months now, and I am sorry for that. Life has gotten very busy and the blog has taken a backseat to everything else. But I am still looking at the comments and am involved with the online IBD community- just to a lesser extent.
Two quick things before I get into this post-
- New Huffington Post piece is up- World IBD Day: It’s Not All Sunshine and Flowers
Now onto tonight’s post.
I have an incredible group of friends who all have IBD that I met through Team Challenge last year- Kelly (Crohn’s disease), Laura (Crohn’s disease), and Katie (ulcerative colitis). They all live in Connecticut and I was so sad to leave them last year when Dan and I moved for my job. It’s nights like tonight when I am reminded how much I truly love having them in my life.
Tonight I have been part of a group text message about things that these ladies have done while pooping (at one point, I had 43 unread messages). Summarizing it won’t do it justice, so I am just going to write it out verbatim for your enjoyment.
It’s that time of the year again.
Dan and I are back at it, raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of American through its Team Challenge program. We will be training to run/walk in the Jamestown Half Marathon this July and we couldn’t be more excited!
Last year we raised $7,500 for CCFA and this year we are upping our goal and hoping to raise $10,000 in the name of research and education about these debilitating diseases.
Shop vintage, benefit CCFA!
From now until February 10, The Vintage Twin, an AWESOME vintage goods company specializing in one-of-a-kind vintage finds, is donating 10% of its online sales to our fundraising efforts for CCFA. Check out their awesome clothing, accessories and other goods and shop early & often!
Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!
This past year has been an exciting one for Dan and I, both online and offline. In the past year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC expanded incredibly- while I wrote far fewer posts than last year, the blog received over 19,000 views and gained This year, Caring for Crohn’s & UC exploded beyond my wildest dreams, having over 19,000 views by over 10,000 visitors, and gained 45 WordPress followers, 9 Tumblr followers, 131 Facebook fans and 213 Twitter followers. (Disclaimer: I am a huge analytics nerd, so please forgive me for being so excited over these numbers :-)) Thank you all SO much for your continued readership and support- while I haven’t kept up with posting as frequently as I want to, I am so happy that the content I wrote over the past two years has reached so many of you. It’s all in the name of raising awareness and educating others about inflammatory bowel diseases.
Enough about the numbers- here are some of my 2013 highlights.
Happy Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week everyone!
Today marks the beginning of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2013 and more than ever, I can’t stress the importance of this week for raising awareness and educating others about inflammatory bowel diseases.
Before Dan was diagnosed, I didn’t know much about IBD. In fact I was one of those people who thought IBD and IBS were one in the same (I now know that they are most definitely not).
In the almost seven years since Dan was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I have learned more about these debilitating diseases than I ever imagined I would. I have witnessed the good and the bad- colonoscopies, hospitalizations, surgeries, medications, tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills- you name it, Dan and I have been through it.
I have also been able to raise awareness and educate others who knew nothing about the disease learn about why Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not just pooping diseases. Through Team Challenge and Take Steps, over the past three years Dan and I raised over $21,000 for research and education of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
But I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting incredible people who are battling these diseases and have become my second inspiration for raising awareness.