Chicago, Here I Come!!
I am so excited to be part of Team Challenge again, with the crazy goal of completing my third full marathon (and my first with Team Challenge) later this year in Chicago! This organization has become an indelible part of my life since I first joined in October 2015. I had no idea that the teammates I have found, the people I have met along the way, and the cause behind it all would become such a huge part of my life.
As many of you know (and for those of you who don't), I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in February 1999. At the time I was 21 and newly engaged, getting ready to graduate college and head to graduate school. I had the rug ripped out from under me the day I received my diagnosis and began to understand the implications. I had an incurable disease. It would never go away. I would never really get better. At the same time, I have been really lucky. While living with ulcerative colitis has had some major ups and downs (many days of feeling great and “normal” balanced with many meds, doctor’s appointments, ER visits and painful procedures), I have the life I dreamed of 17 years ago. I have a career I love, a husband who has been by my side every step of the way, and 3 beautiful boys to keep me on my toes. But the fight is not over. There are days I feel like a ticking time bomb – waiting for the next flare or the next abnormal colonoscopy result. But most days I remind myself that I am stronger and smarter than this disease, that there is no way that I am going to let it slow me down or keep me from doing the things I want to do and accomplishing all that I can.
This is where the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation comes in. They are funding cutting edge research into the hows and whys of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, looking for cures and better treatments for patients, like me. They also help fund provider and patient education and patient support groups. And my second favorite thing (after finding a cure) is that they fund Camp Oasis, a summer camp for kids affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Camp Oasis provides these kids with a place where they can be surrounded by staff and kids who struggle with the same diseases, who understand the ups and downs and embarrassments that come along with having IBD. I have really found a new passion and call for advocacy since I first learned that the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation existed. This March I had the distinct pleasure of joining the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation! Not only can I help raise funds, but now I can have a direct impact on where those funds go, help organize volunteers for the foundation, help at Camp Oasis, advocate for patients and their education/resources, and so many other incredible opportunities. As both a patient and a healthcare provider I feel like I can make a unique contribution, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish!
To date I have personally raised over $8000 with TeamChallenge, and I am excited to continue to raise money for this important cause while training for the Chicago marathon in October. My current goal is to raise another $5000! I am working hard with various volunteer and fundraising opportunities to contribute money to this worthwhile cause. I hope that you can donate something, be it your time or your money and help me reach my fundraising goal! Your donation is 100% tax deductible and every little bit counts!
My legs may be sore and tired at the finish line, but it reminds me that I am still healthy enough to run a marathon when so many patients are not. I thank you genuinely from the bottom of my heart for your thoughtful support helping to push me across the finish line in the Windy City!
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