Andrew Harwell's Fundraising Page
Dear Friends, Family, and Kind Internet Strangers,
On June 24, 2017, I will be running the Faxon Law Fairfield Half Marathon. Prior to this year, I had never run anything longer than a 5K, but I set this goal for myself because--in the longest period of remission from Crohn's disease in my life so far--I have been feeling empowered to take control of my physical health. So much of living with Crohn's disease is feeling like your physical health has control over you.
A bit about my history with Crohn's disease:
I was diagnosed in eighth grade, in between football season and soccer season, in part because I'd been preternaturally tired after every football practice. At the time, I did my best to ignore my symptoms, thinking that they were just a sign I needed to try harder; I remember feeling almost relieved to learn, when I was finally diagnosed, that I was justified in being as exhausted as I was.
I was lucky in that my doctors caught my disease early and treated it aggressively. Steroids weren't fun, but they got me through, and as I realized later, it's the lucky IBD patients who get to lament the side effects of their meds, rather than the effects of the disease itself. High school was mostly fine, and even in college, I suffered very few symptoms, although I did have to take a medical leave freshman year when my immunosuppressants put my white blood cell count so low that a would-be mild case of mono landed me in the ICU.
I had a long, scary rough patch after I moved to New York, before the GI doctor I'd found through my insurance website finally did me a great favor and recommended me to my current Crohn's specialist, who is nothing short of a miracle worker. My new doctor helped me to see that any amount of time feeling awful is too long; she found a balance of medications that has gotten me to the happy, healthy place I am today.
But always, I know that I am one inexplicable flare-up away from being apartment-ridden again. I also know at all times that I could not survive without my insurance--a thought that haunts me given the current state of health care costs and debates in this country. Those realities can feel overwhelming--and so can the reality that I'm one of the lucky ones with my Crohn's disease. But thinking of all these things, I realized that I absolutely want to make this upcoming half marathon not just about my health, but about the health of everyone who suffers from IBD. I've set a pretty ambitious fundraising goal here--if I raise $1,000, I get an orange running jersey that I'd love to wear to this race--but it matches the ambitious fitness goal I set with this half marathon in the first place. I hope you will consider donating or sharing this page. Your contribution goes toward research, education, and treatment for IBD patients. I hate to ask anyone for anything at anytime, but like I said, this is my way of making my very fortunate moment of good health about more than me.
If you've gotten this far--thank you for reading, and for considering a donation.
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 1.6 million Americans. These chronic diseases tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally.
The Mission of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is: To cure and prevent Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through research, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these digestive diseases through education and support.
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Recognition of the participant making their own gift to support their efforts
Fundraising Honor Roll
D,Levithan branch of the Harwelliopulos Fan Club
Liz, Will, Leo & Felix Trepp
Ms. Lorin Oberweger
Adam La Faci
Savi & Michael
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