Take Steps Honored Heroes represent the Crohn's disease & ulcerative colitis warriors living in our community. They share their story of life with IBD to raise awareness and inspire others to join the fight against digestive diseases.
This year Joe Teeters & Danielle Gulden of Team Double Baggin It will respresent Central Ohio as our Honored Heroes. Their passion for the mission and their zest for life will no doubt create enthusiasm within our community and beyond. We are pleased to have these two friends share the honor for 2017 as Central Ohio's Honored Heroes.
We are Danielle and Joe, Team Double Baggin’ It, and we are excited and humbled to be selected as the 2017 Honored Heroes for the Central Ohio Chapter of the CCFA. We look forward to sharing our story, throughout the community, as we work to promote the 2017 Take Steps Walk and support the CCFA mission. Below is a bit of our story.
Growing up, I was a very healthy kid, extremely outgoing, and never home – a real social butterfly. Starting around my senior year of high school and continuing through college, my life changed. I started becoming progressively less healthy. I was always in the bathroom, sometimes up to 20 times per day, with painful, bloody, diarrhea. The bathroom became my prison! I had to withdrawal from my classes and even quit my first post-college job before I could even begin working – all due to my chronic and painful diarrhea and bleeding issues. Life was not good. I was no longer the same health, outgoing, social person I used to be.
In 1999, I was finally diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis. I endured eight more years, test after test, drug after drug, and nothing was helping me feel better or improving my symptoms. In April of 2007, under the medical care of the Cleveland Clinic, I had my very angry colon removed and became a permanent ileostomate. I’m very grateful for my ostomy as it has given me back my life!
I always had poop problems growing up: nervous stomach, constipation, diarrhea. It seems like I was always pooping. It wasn’t until I was away for Naval Reserve Training, that I started having more serious poop problems. When I returned home, my parents started taking me around to figure out what was wrong and I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in February of 1993. Over the course of the last 23 years, I have benefited from treatments that resulted from research funded directly by the CCFA. Not all treatments work 100% all of the time and like many CD patients, I have had to have surgeries when treatments failed. My last surgery was in December of 2012 and was a full procto-colectomy with end ileostomy, making me a permanent ileostomate.
Double Baggin’ It
We (Danielle and Joe) have travelled separate but similar paths that lead us to becoming permanent ileostomates. We connected via a FaceBook ostomy support group and then connected in person when Danielle relocated and we ended up attending the same local support group. After connecting, we discovered that we have a similar outlook on life in general and on our lives as ostomates. We both enjoy humor, silliness, and fun and we enjoy helping people. Double Baggin’ It is our way of using humor to bring education, awareness and advocacy for IBD, ostomies, ostomates and ostomy life to the world. Ostomy life is life. And life is good!