West Michigan Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis

Event Details

Location: John Ball Park Zoo

Date: 6/14/14
Check-in and Festival Start: 10:00 AM
Walk Start: 11:00 AM

Questions?

Walk Coordinator:
Molly Campbell
mcampbell@ccfa.org

Phone: 616-560-5343

Platinum Sponsor:


Goal = $91,000.00


Achieved = $37,656.41


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Team Honor Roll
Top Participants

West Michigan Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis

West Michigan, Take Steps to Find Cures

Register to Walk!

IT'S TIME TO WALK FOR A CURE!

JOIN US ON JUNE 14, 2014

JOHN BALL ZOO PARK

Registration begins at 10 AM.
Program begins at 11 AM and walkers depart shortly after. 

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.

Take Steps for Crohn’s & colitis is a family friendly community walk dedicated to raising awareness and mission-critical funds for cures for digestive diseases.  In the past five years alone, we succeeded in bringing together over 100,000 people and raised close to $40 million to help further CCFA’s mission. 

80 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 MEGAN LYNCH: OUR 2014 ADULT HONORED HERO!

Megan Lynch Photo

We are honored to have Megan Lynch be this year's Adult Honored Hero! What an amazing example of strength, courage and grace in an IBD Warrior!

The first seven years of my life were blissfully normal. Growing up in East Grand Rapids in the early 1990’s, I played neighborhood games with my wide group of friends and spent quality time with my family. Sunny summer days were enjoyed on the shores of Lake Michigan, and winters brought ski trips and sledding expeditions along with the heavy snow. Basically, things were uneventful in the Lynch house. Then, in second grade, just as I was growing into my childhood, my world changed forever.

I started experiencing stomach pains when I was seven-years-old. My personal memory of this time is now hazy at best, but I do recall missing school, being subjected to new and frightening tests, and a general sense of anxiety. My doctor believed I would simply “grow out” of my discomfort. However, my father recognized the symptoms in me as the same symptoms he experienced himself as a child, and would later identify in my sister, as well: it was Crohn’s Disease.

In 1992, pediatric gastroenterology was a new branch of medical achievement in Grand Rapids. Dr. Deborah Cloney was brand new in the GR area. She was my first specialist doctor, and I was her first pediatric patient. We formed a bond that was unbreakable. She was there to fight my battles with me, and, many tears were shed and harsh words spoken. The endless needle pokes, high doses of steroids, and bi-annual hospitalizations could at times be devastatingly difficult. With this diagnosis my world was flipped upside down.

Through the years I maintained as best I could. In middle and high school I was declared a “home-bound” student—essentially a classification for a handicapped person who is not physically able to attend the necessary number of classes. This status helped save me from battling the school system while I also battled for my health. By the time I had reached junior year in high school, I had undergone two surgeries and at least half a dozen hospitalizations. I had become little more than a mirage at school—many students would look at me with a questioning eye. However, I had a loyal and wonderful group of friends that I still hold in the highest respect.

By the time high-school was wrapping up I had managed—with much help—to graduate on time. The day I received my diploma was an achievement academically, mentally, and physically. I had been proudly accepted to my first choice of colleges; Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. The thought of leaving home was both exhilarating and terrifying. I majored in Psychology with a specialty in Developmental Disorders and devoted the next five years of my life to being a college student. Although my friends knew about my Crohn’s disease, it was not what defined me. I still had my battles—a few hospitalizations set me back a semester—but after five years, I graduated. When I received that diploma I knew that there were no limits on my life. I could do, or be, anything—despite how I may have felt in the past. So I made a decision to move cross-country to Boulder, Colorado.

For three plus years I lived and played out in Boulder. I got my dream job at the time working in a school with kids on the autism spectrum. I hiked and skied , explored and enjoyed the magic of the mountains. I was enjoying my newfound adulthood. My sister was attending the University of Colorado at the time, and through her I felt a connection to my home. My parents would come and visit often so the four of us could be together. Their support, once again, proved to be invaluable.

In 2009 I started experiencing severe Crohn’s symptoms including nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and joint pain. However, I was so dedicated to living a “normal” life that I did my best to ignore these symptoms. Then it all caught up with me. During the night I woke up and couldn’t stop vomiting. I knew immediately that I had a full blockage. My self-diagnosis was quickly confirmed, and soon I was going under the knife for the fourth time at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver.
After the surgery and subsequent recovery, I was sent home. A few days later, I experienced the worst Deja vu ever when those same symptoms returned. I was re-admitted to the hospital and cut open again, to remove a second blockage. This time recovery proved to be more difficult. I caught a life-threatening case of pneumonia while in the hospital and spent time in the ICU. I developed a severe wound infection that took months to heal. Finally, I  had enough. While I was still hospitalized my mom packed up my apartment, and once I was healthy enough to travel, I said good-bye to Colorado and went home.
Once I returned to Michigan I found a new normal. I got another job working with developmentally disabled kids. I recovered slowly, but surely. A year into my new routine I met the love of my life and everything changed yet again. He and I moved into a house in Ada while I continued working in schools and at the homes of kids with autism. We built happiness together that gave me a new sense of security and trust. However, my nasty foe crept back in, and before I knew it I was in the midst of yet another flare. Along with all the familiar symptoms I had developed an alarming new one: debilitating joint pain. And still, yet again, I tried to ignore it. I hoped against hope that if I continued as if nothing was wrong that my body would eventually agree. Then, just last September, I gave in and heard the confirmation I knew was coming: I was going to lose my colon.

October of 2013 I underwent yet another surgery for Crohn’s disease. Unlike previous occasions, my doctors and I planned out this procedure. To say I was scared is an understatement. But with the over-whelming support of my family, friends, and medical staff, I have thus far made enormous strides in my recovery. In February I even made a ski-trip to Oregon for a week. This vacation would have been impossible for me to consider before my colostomy, and I had to fight through many anxieties to even get on the plane. But in the end I had the trip of a lifetime, and I am grateful I had the physical ability to experience it.

Though every day presents new difficulties I have learned to live--and to thrive--with Crohn’s disease. I am determined to use the compassion and strength that accompanies a chronic diagnosis to make a difference in the lives of those who may be suffering. I chose to view my world as an un-ending opportunity for knowledge and growth because I am fortunate to have the support of amazing people who sacrifice their own lives to make mine better. At times I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Even though I am faced with an uncertain future and almost  definitely more health concerns, today is a good day. And, for a person with Crohn’s, that’s a wonderful thing to be able to say. 

MEET MACKENNA TOMASZEWSKI: OUR 2014 YOUTH HONORED HERO!

TS WM HH.jpg

We are so excited to have Mackenna join Take Steps West Michigan as the 2014 Youth Honored Hero. Read about Mackenna's inspiring story here. 

Mackenna is a spunky 12 year old girl who has spent her fair share of time at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. At the age of 3 Mackenna was very Ill and found to have a Bladder Disorder.  Shortly after it was surgically repaired she continued to become ill with no answers.  With the persistence of her family, pediatrician, and many specialists we found, after a 3 ½ year search, that she has Crohn’s disease. Mackenna has endured many test, a few surgeries/ procedures, and countless visits to specialists. 

Since her diagnosis Mackenna enjoyed a few years of “fairly stable” health.  Unfortunately over the past year Mackenna has experienced an increase in her symptoms as well as being diagnosed with a second auto immune disease…. Rheumatoid Arthritis.  She is currently having some other inflammatory problems and bone disorders.  She has again been going from doctor to doctor and tests BUT with a smile and her funny little personality.  She has also been placed on an intensive feeding therapy that started with an NG feeding tube and now has progressed to a full G-tube. She began Remicade in the summer of 2013 and due to some bone and spine problems may be facing another surgery summer 2014.  But…..

 All through this time she has remained a happy and when able energetic little girl.  She has developed this quick witty humor that surprises many. Most see her as a shy petite girl, and then they get to know this silly thing for who she really is! She loves playing with her friends and cheerleading for The Grandville Rocket Football system and although she is currently is on a hiatus she will soon return to her competitive gymnastic team.  Mackenna and her family recently joined her charity with another and opened an Art & Creativity room at DeVos Children’s hospital in honor of Mackenna. She is supported by so many friends and family members it’s sometimes unbelievable.  She has an older and younger brother, Hunter and Cole, which have had to walk this journey along with her and have made many proud of their compassion and patience. 

Mackenna is one brave and strong little lady and her family is beyond proud of her!

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - PLEASE READ!!!  

  • Who are checks payable to?  Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America or CCFA.
  • What are "Team Donations?"  If a supporter visited your team page and opted to make a donation on behalf of the team rather than a specific walker, those are noted as Team Donations.  Those particular donations will be credited to the Team Captain's fundraising efforts.  Sorry, we are not able to "move" those donations around to individual walkers.  Please advise your donors to select a specific walker to contribute to from here on out.  
  •  I have a bunch of money collected.  Where should I send that?   Please send checks made payable to CCFA to our Michigan Chapter office with a note that indicates who we should credit the donation to and note the WEST MICHIGAN Walk.  Send to:  CCFA Michigan Chapter - 25882 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 102 - Farmington Hills, MI 48336.  If it's later than June 10, 2014 please bring donations to the event.
  • How do my donors get receipts?  A few ways.  If they give you cash or check, you can issue a receipt that is provided in the "Walker Kit" that we mail to you.  If they make an online donation, they are automatically emailed a receipt.  (The participant is also notified when a donation is made online, on their behalf.)
  • The walk is at the zoo.Can I get free tickets? Yes! Teams that raise $1500 will receive 3 free zoo passes. Teams that raise over $5000 receive 5 passes. See Molly at the event to receive your passes.
  • How long is the Walk?  It's a three-mile, non-competitive route with two short cuts within that three mile loop. 
  • Where is the John Ball Zoo Park? The John Ball Zoo Park is located outside of the John Ball Zoo. 1300 W Fulton St, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Where should we park?  You may park in the zoo parking lot or the overflow field parking. 
  • Is it okay to bring my dog to the Walk? YES! Please make sure your doggy is leashed and cleaned up after :) HOWEVER, for those that are visiting the zoo after the walk, pets are NOT allowed in the zoo.
  • If my friend doesn't want to walk the route, is that okay?  Of course!  They can simply hang back at John Ball Zoo Park while you're on the route.  Walkers are only gone about 45 minutes if they go the entire three miles.  
  • Does everyone on my team get a Take Steps T-shirt?  Anyone who raises $100 for CCFA will receive a T-shirt. The Team Captain can check in the entire team and distribute the shirts to their team.
  • Can we make our own team t-shirts? YES! And signs, too!  Many teams will incorporate a team theme and rock the walk with some flare... Even if you have your own shirts, anyone who raises $100 for CCFA will get a Take Steps shirt.
  • My friend called the morning of the Walk and she isn't registered. Can she still attend Take Steps? YES! We will register her for the event. 
  • Toilets - are there enough toilets?   We thought of your needs and there are plenty of potty stops along the route. 
  • Why is it important to register everyone on my team?  So we can plan to feed everyone!!!  We will not have enough food, water and fun if we don't know how many are going to attend!  Please register everyone on your team today!  

 

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT OF YOUR LOVED ONE WITH OUR MISSION MILE!

EMMA MISSION MILE.jpg 

Our Loud and Proud Teams who raise over $1,000 can honor who they are walking for in our Mission Mile! Raise $1,000 by MAY 26 and earn a Mission Mile sign. Send Molly a picture and choose “In support of”, “In celebration of” or “In memory of” to honor your loved one.

Gr sponsors

 

Molly Campbell

Take Steps Walk Manager

mcampbell@ccfa.org