Meet Fort Wayne Honored Hero - Tara Shearer
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.
Tara Shearer, Fort Wayne Honored Hero
Meet Fort Wayne Honored Hero, Tara Shearer!
I was approximately 9 years old when I started to develop issues. I had been to the doctor a few times, but was always told I had a ‘nervous stomach,’ so I just accepted my problems and dealt with it the best I could. You learn very quickly where every restroom is anywhere you go. My official diagnoses with Crohn’s disease came at the age of 18. Right before my senior year of spring break I ended up in the ER with excruciating pain, after several tests with no answers, I ended up having emergency exploratory surgery, which led to a bowel resection. Having this disease definitely takes a toll on you mentally. You are constantly worrying about whether or not your stomach is going to hurt or cause issues and what you will do to not make things too obvious. After my surgery when I was told about my diagnosis, I really didn’t know what Crohn’s was, nor had I ever really heard about it. After learning a bit about IBD, everything seemed to make sense. All those years of issues and problems and finally an answer. Not the ideal answer, but at least it was something. Years to follow lead to hospital stays with bleeding ulcers and infections, yearly iron IV infusions, and on and off different medications. I would say I am currently in ‘remission,’ but those who have this disease know that can change very quickly. I have come to realize medications will always be a part of my daily life, like it or not, but my hope for a cure will never stop. You never know what to expect and you just learn to appreciate those good days just a little bit more.
I am blessed to have my husband Nathan, of almost 20 years now, by my side. He doesn’t always understand what I’m going through, and never pretends to. He is my support system and rock! We have 3 beautiful children, Savannah (18), Preston (16), and Noah (13). I am forever thankful to be able to have had children, some are not so fortunate. I love watching them compete in their sports, it brings me a lot of joy. We enjoy taking family vacations and spending time with our extended family as well. I am very fortunate to have a strong, close relationship with my parents. I am also thankful for my best friend, Jennifer, of 30 years. She has never judged me, no matter the situation, and I am glad to be there for her (vice versa) for all these years.
My involvement with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation began just over a year ago. It had finally clicked that I could help, get involved, and maybe even make a difference. My dear friend Kim sent me a flier about the CCFA Take Steps Walk and within a few days I created a team and began raising money. Everything I raised happened in just a few short weeks. Nonetheless, it was a successful first year and I had tons of support from family, friends and co-workers.
For the past 5 years our neighborhood street has put on a block party, while preparing for our 6th Annual one, I brought up the idea of donating all of our earnings from the fundraiser/silent auction to CCFA. The previous year we had
donated all our proceeds to a neighborhood family whose daughter was battling cancer, and it was very successful! We managed to raise $3,000 to donate to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. It was a great feeling and honor to be able to do this! Everyone’s efforts and donations to help make our Ford Drive Block Party such a huge success were indescribable.
I am incredibly grateful for the life I’ve been given. Everything that has happened to me has just made me a stronger human being. This disease is a part of me, but it does not control or define who I am. My goal with becoming involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is to be heard, let others know this is not the end and that we need to continue to fight, fight for a cure. I would never describe myself as a hero, but it is truly an honor to be selected to represent the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.