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I have met the most amazing people through the Team Challenge program who have become my closest friends! We are all working toward the same goal... finding a cure for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. — Leigh

When you join the Team, not only will you receive a comprehensive program to help you achieve your fitness goals, but you will become part of the Team Challenge family. As a Team, we challenge ourselves, change lives and fundraise for cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis - two painful, debilitating, and seldom-discussed digestive diseases. With Team Challenge, you become part of the solution!

Why join Team Challenge?

Here’s what Team Challenge offers you:

Information Sessions

We have many races both nationally and internationally, so come to a training session to learn more, meet the Coaches, past participants, and have all of your questions answered!  

Schedule a 1-on-1

Contact Your Endurance Manager
Morgan Harris
484-278-3934
mharris@crohnscolitisfoundation.org 

Upcoming Events

Race In Orange

Team Challenge is excited to announce a new option in the fight against Crohn’s & Colitis. Whether you love to run/walk a 5k, get dirty in a mud run, cruise in a cycle event, or tri a triathlon…you can now help support CCFA's mission with no fundraising commitment! Set your own goal. The more you raise, the more rewards you receive!


Saratoga Springs Half Marathon & 5k

The newest addition to the Team Challenge roster! Race through the beautiful Adirondack region on this flat and fast course through Saratoga Spa State Park, and the iconic Avenue of the Pines.

Event Date: July 9, 2017


Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon & 5k

Join us for the 10th year at our flagship event, ands race through Wine Country! This popular race features a scenic vineyard course that starts at Cuvaison Carneros Winery in Napa and takes you 13.1 miles to finish in historic Sonoma Plaza in front of City Hall.

Event Date: July 16, 2017


Honored Hero

WHO ARE CCFA'S HONORED HEROES?

An Honoree is someone who provides inspiration to our athletes throughout the training and fundraising period. Honorees serve as symbols of strength and motivation, support and determination. An Honoree is someone who is currently is being treated for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Each of our Team Challenge participants is matched up with an Honoree. Honorees have the unique opportunity to connect with individuals who have committed themselves to raising funds for the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They will share their strength and courage with participants who are training to complete their endurance event.

When participants join Team Challenge, they commit to many months of training and fundraising before completing a half marathon. They are not only motivated by their own personal fitness goals, but are truly inspired by the bravery and fortitude of each Honoree.

15037210_10154417335154584_678647317157701792_n.jpgHolly Burgard 

Team Challenge has forever changed my life for the better with all of the friendships, support and memories, I can't imagine my life without it. So the fact that I have been nominated for the Honored Hero means the world to me!

Holly's journey began in November 2004. She was 10 years old when I noticed she was 8 inches shorter and 20lbs lighter than her twin sister. A month later, following an endoscopy and colonoscopy Holly was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. They found it in the cecum, ascending, and sigmoid colon, rectum and perianal area. This began the fun journey of medications, tests, infusions, steroids, surgeries and a mic-key button for nutrition. Through all of this Holly kept a positive attitude nd continue to play soccer at a premier level and started on both her high school soccer and basketball teams, even if she occasionally had to run off the field into the closest bathroom, port-a-pot or cornfield!! Holly joined the Messiah College Women's Soccer team where they made it to the sweet 16, elite 8, final 4 and won a National Championship! College brought on a significant change with her Crohn's. The Remicade infusions stopped working and eventually so did Humira, Cimizia and Entyvio. During my sophomore year Holly's symptoms became so bad that in February 2014 she decided to get a temporary ileostomy to get her life back. She was stronger than she had been in years and symptoms were almost non-existent for a little under a year. Then her Crohn's came back and was found in places they have never been found before. Since then she has had 3 hospitalizations for severe flares and it is very possible that her temporary ileostomy will become permanent. Despite all of this, she does not let her problems or symptoms get her down. In fact, she has run two half marathons with Team Challenge, coach and play soccer while holding down a full time job...Her motto for life is "it is what it is" and to just keep putting one foot in front of the other!   

Addie Addie Pangaro 

I always considered myself to be a lucky person. I have an amazing family, the perfect husband, and life was full of smiles and laughter. After the last two years of my life, I can barely tell you about what life has been like without bringing tears to my eyes. I’m so honored to have been nominated to be one of this season’s Team Philly’s honored heroes because I feel I have a lot to share, and a lot of life left in me to help fight IBD.

 

My experience with Crohn’s and colitis is everything that could possibly go wrong with the disease. So bad I almost died. So bad, they told me I might make a medical journal. So bad that neither of those things has been the worst part. About 2 years ago, I lost my mother, my best friend. She had been diagnosed with Leukemia from one of her Crohn’s Disease medications. I’ve always looked up to my mom because she was the strongest woman I have ever met.

 

Because of my mom, I became involved with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and was the Team Challenge manager for the Philadelphia chapter. A few months into my new position, I, myself, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. About a year after my mom passed away, things started going downhill fast. I was hospitalized multiple times, received a number of blood transfusions, took steroids for several months and tried many other medications (oral and IV). I was going to the bathroom 25-30 times a day, and none of the treatments they were giving me helped. I was told that, surgery was my only option.

 

First they would remove my colon, which we learned was becoming fatal to my body. Next they would take my small intestines and build a j-pouch (a new and improved “colon”). All throughout this process I would live with an ostomy bag for about 6 months before getting the ostomy reversal surgery later with a 2-4 day recovery stay at the hospital. But on day 31 of what turned out to be a 37 day hospital stay, when doctors came in and told me that I would need a second emergency surgery to address complications still lingering from the ostomy reversal, they were saying instead that I would be in a medical journal because of how unique my medical situation was.

 

Fresh out of the hospital (April 2017), I am finally on the mend and getting back to my new “normal”!! Fortunately, the physical recovery is now becoming easy, but the emotional toll these past two years have taken on myself and my family is still lingering.

 

Team Challenge has given me a wonderful family of IBD patients and caregivers who I’ve been able to turn to and who have supported me these past few years. Between my diagnosis, my “year from hell”, and losing my mom – I’ve had hugs, empathy and words of encouragement everywhere I turned. As a former CCFA employee and also as a TC alumni, I’m so happy to be able to continue the fight against these awful diseases. For my mom, and for those who have had it worse than us. TC Philly – POO-YA!


Coaches

WHO ARE THE TEAM CHALLENGE COACHES?

Our professional coaches prepare training plans for all levels of athletes. Team Challenge coaches lead weekly trainings and send weekly coaching newsletters to help you get the most out of your training experience! Seasoned athletes themselves, our Team Challenge coaches are passionate about healthy living and finding a cure for Crohn's and colitis. Our coaches are specially trained to work with participants with IBD and cater to the needs associated with the symptoms.

Coach Sam ClarkeCoach Samantha Clarke

Coach Samantha Clarke joined Team Challenge in 2012. She decided to take part after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008. Through the team she has found a passion for running and helping others with IBD. Since joining the team she has completed five half marathons (three as a Team Challenge participant/mentor) and one full marathon. Coach Sam is very excited to be coaching team Philly this spring!

 

 

Coach Heather FillipoCoach Heather Fillipo

In 2013, Heather decided she wanted to give a little more purpose to her running.  She started looking for non-profit running groups with missions that she could connect with. That’s when she found Team Challenge, and she could not be happier that she did. She joined the team as a participant in the Spring of 2013. She has since participated in two seasons as a mentor, and her love of Team Challenge has continued to grow.  "The people I have met through TC are some of the strongest and most inspirational individuals I have ever had the privilege to come across. They have become my motivation to persevere in running, and in life. They have become my family, and it is so exciting to see that family grow season after season as we run for a cure."

 

Additional Details

BRING TEAM CHALLENGE TO YOUR OFFICE!

Want to compete for a cure with your colleagues? Our local staff will present at your workplace! Contact Morgan Harris, Endurance Manager, at 484-278-3934 or mharris@crohnscolitisfoundation.org to learn more.