Westfield, Take Steps to Find a Cure!
THE WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS WALK WILL BE HELD AT STANLEY PARK IN WESTFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS!
Greetings from your Walk Manager, Jessica Gale!
I am just a phone call away! 207.649.9573
Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis is CCFA’s largest fundraising event having touched over 240,000 people and raised nearly $60M to help further the Foundation’s mission.
Our Take Steps walks offer a wonderful day for family, friends and the community to celebrate all of the efforts that have been put forth in raising funds towards our mission. Our walk events are filled with live music, food, kids’ entertainment, educational materials, and, of course, wonderful exposure for our corporate partners. In 2014, more than 70,000 people joined us nationwide, helping us raise $11M.
82 cents of every dollar raised goes towards breakthrough research, public and professional education, and patient support services in communities across the nation.
Register today. Join thousands of others in the fight against digestive diseases.
Meet our 2015 Honoree:
My name is Ashley Sabourin. I'm 21 years old, I live in Plainfield, Massachusetts and I have Crohn’s Disease. Looking back, I’ve probably had Crohn’s Disease since I was very young. I’ve had pain and digestive issues for as long as I can remember but no one ever put a name to it. I’d have weeks of belly pain and difficulty with certain foods but my pediatricians always figured it was a “stomach bug” or that I was just “stressed”. Nothing ever presented in a way that was serious enough for anyone to look further. The first time we started really questioning and digging deeper was in November 2013, after my annual physical. My doctor had done some routine bloodwork and informed me that I was pretty severely anemic. She started me on iron supplements which seemed to aggravate more than help and by January 2014, I landed in the emergency room with severe stomach pains. A 10 out of 10 - to use the dreaded hospital pain scale. I definitely had some sort of obstruction and they needed to pump my stomach to clear that first. That was a wakeup call! I was in the hospital for a solid month, two different hospitals actually, and many, many endoscopies, colonoscopies, CT scans, MRE’s and blood work before doctors finally confirmed that I had a very serious form of Crohn’s disease. My intestines were severely strictured right at the ileocecal valve. I had multiple lesions throughout my small bowel plus ulcers right up and into my stomach. With the diagnosis came the realization that, at 20, I had a disease that was going to impact me for the rest of my life. Having recently undergone hip surgery for a torn labrum, a condition brought on by my 16 years of Irish Dance training, I was no stranger to hard work or to pain. I knew I would be able to handle both. But this was something entirely different, a disease and one that I knew nothing about. I wasn’t prepared for another surgery, which was one of my first conversations with the GI doctors. I didn’t want to continue on the steroids or pain medications that they had kept me on in the hospital and that made me feel horrible. Nor was I ready for immunosuppressant shots or infusions. I had hoped, upon leaving the hospital, that with research, diet and lifestyle changes I might be able to “cure” this disease that threatened to rob me of my life. As months progressed and I landed week after week back in the hospital with extreme pain, nausea, chronic exhaustion and bleeding, it became obvious that I wasn’t going to manage this completely without medical intervention and so I reluctantly began a course of Remicade. Half a day spent in the hospital, every five weeks. The hope was to stop the active inflammation (my markers were off the chart!) and to get me to a point where I could start to heal. And that worked - for awhile. I was never symptom free but I could live with the pain most days. But by September 2014, 7 months after I was diagnosed, with no end in sight, my local GI doctor decided that it was time to go to Mass General in Boston and get another opinion. After that meeting it became pretty clear that, although the Remicade had stopped any further spreading, I would need surgery to remove the severely damaged ileocecal valve and surrounding small and large bowel. There was no option if I ever wanted to go into remission. So I planned that in December 2014, between my first and second semesters of my junior year of college, I could take that one month of vacation time and have surgery, heal and be ready to start school again in mid-January. Thank goodness I had such a great surgeon! He fit me in exactly on the first day of winter break. He performed the surgery laparoscopically, removing over a foot of severely damaged small intestines, the valve and another six inches of large intestines. The healing was a struggle but I managed to fight through and I achieved my goal of starting my second semester right on day one. Although I’m still not in remission and still have many of the symptoms of active Crohn’s Disease, I am slowing gaining my strength back. I’m learning what it means not to have an ileocecal valve to help me gather nutrients, and how to manage that. I’ve learned to eat differently and manage my resources better. But I am finally having more good days then bad. Throughout the last 18 months of learning to live with this disease, I’ve never let it stop me from pursuing my dreams. I am college senior at Westfield State University, studying Sports Medicine. I have excellent grades and good friends. I teach Irish Dance class three nights a week and still dance myself. I work at as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and I’m debating which master’s degree program to pursue after graduation. I consider myself lucky to have had understanding professors and employers throughout this process. I couldn’t have made this journey without the loving support of my Mom, Dad and brothers who were with me every step of the way. And especially that of my amazing fiancé who knows how to make me smile even when I am at my very lowest. I thank CCFA for providing resources to help me learn about Crohn’s disease and for making me aware that I am not alone in my daily battle. I am hopeful, with your support, that CCFA will find a cure for this disease so that other young people will not have to go through years of pain like I have. Please consider supporting this worthy cause, your support means so much to those fighting this disease. http://online.ccfa.org/goto/Ashley_Sabourin2015
Meet our Champion Honoree: FAITH NEWMARK
As far as I can remember the beginning of September was a time that changed my life and i would never be the same. The illness that I suffered from was finally diagnosed as Crohn's. It had a name !
I had my first obstruction and was in excruciating
,pain and no one was sure what was happening. The nurse in the.
emergency room kept asking me "Why are you crying?". They thought maybe
I was having an appendix attack. I had an NG tube put
in and also my first sigmoidoscopy which was extremely unpleasant. In
addition I also had numerous barium enemas and upper GI procedures. At
that time there were no support groups or social connections.
I was given high doses of prednisone which unfortunately have taken their toll on me. I had early cataracts, have osteoporosis , have broken several bones and have tendon issues.
I lost 40 pounds before my first surgery in June 1971 and weighed only 74 pounds. People would ask me "How did you lose all that weight?" and I would tell them you don't want to do it this way. After the surgery where they removed 5 feet my small intestine I was able to gain back the weight but was still always running to the bathroom. I would say that I used to have Crohn's and that my "transit time" was just quicker than most.
I had my" boring beige" diet to help prevent a DISASTROUS DIGESTIVE DINING DILEMMA. To this day cooking and eating are still not my favorite things to do. It wasn't until my second emergency surgery in June 2001 that I learned I still had Crohn's. I didn't know it was chronic and that once you have it you always have it. But now, (unlike 50 years ago) people do know what Crohn's is and there are more resources and vastly improved medical treatment plans and drugs. My go to medication is cholestyramine - it has really saved the day- cuts down on toilet paper usage and frequency of bathroom visits and as one of my friends said "it makes things neat" .
I now run a support group for Crohn's and Colitis in Pittsfield and am able to offer support and share my story. I can do the things I love to do , going to the gym, riding my bike , taking walks and spending time with my friends and family. I think having Crohn's has made me a better person and I always try to look on the bright side.
I am good, I am OK - I made it to another day!! I never would have believed 50 years ago that I would be an honoree for CCFA...I am here with a life that is complete in every way. I really could not ask for any more , I have a husband , 2 sons,2 daughter-in-laws 4 grandchildren , a dog and friends galore!! Think positive there is help, healing, hope and support on the way - stay connected with CCFA.
Support Faith today http://online.ccfa.org/goto/Faith_Newmark
WELCOME BACK TO OUR VETERAN TEAMS REGISTERED FOR THE 2015 WALK!
Our 16 VETERAN TEAMS have raised $3,541 to date. We are challenging our Veteran teams to raise $20,000!
|LaRochelle Race Team aka Team Outhouse||Steven||LaRochelle|
|Team Ashley||Mary Lynn||Sabourin|
|Love my Chronic Bad A$$||Valerie||Werner-Martin|
|Step Ahead of Crohns||Cynthia||Davis|
|Garrett's Givers||Deborah and Richard||Ostiguy|
|No. 2 Crew||Ashley||Ruggiera|
|Hope for the Future||Shandria||McCoy|
|Elora's Wild Warriors||John||Fairbanks|
|Goode's Kids||Dr. Susan||Goode|
|Miles for Mya||Kaitlyn||Smith|
WELCOME TO OUR NEW TEAMS REGISTERED FOR THE 2015 WALK!
Our 15 New Teams have raised $5,163 to date. We are challenging our new teams to raise $15,000!
|No Guts, No Glory||Molly||Kokoski|
|TEAM JACY :)||Jacy||Humphrey|
|Game of Crohns||Halie||St.Sauveur|
|Cruisin for a Crohns cure||Seana||Shahood|
|Team Mellow Wyda||Jeffro||Wyda|
|The Gut Wrenchers||Aaron||Mallett|
THANK YOU TO OUR NATIONAL SPONSOR!
Decal Don... How it works!
Make a self-donation today of $25.00 (or more) and you will be rewarded with a Take Steps Decal
or as we'd like to call it Decal Don.
Many patients suffer in silence but it's up to us to make their voices heard. Help us change that FACT! Register today for the 2015 Western Massachusetts Take Steps Walk and make a self-donation of $25! You will receive a window decal to place in your car or other publicly visible place. Be a part of making a difference to those who suffer in silence.
Next Steps - Help us raise awareness!
Take a photo with your “Decal Don” (think Flat Stanley) and share on social media. Don't forget to tag us with #decaldon. Let's show the world your team’s commitment to the fight against digestive diseases. Together we will find a cure!
Have you collected donations that need to be applied to your fundraising page?
MAIL OFFLINE DONATIONS TO:CCFA New England72 River Park StSuite 202Needham, MA 02494
Attention: Jessica Gale, Maine Take Steps
Visit the New England Chapter Website: CLICK HERE
Find a support group: Click Here
Reach out to the IBD Help Center: Click Here