Dear family and friends,
At the end of third grade, after a tough bout of a stomach infection, Rachel was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Since then, it's been a bit of a roller coaster for her; having long periods of feeling good that end quickly and without warning, getting through flares and more infections, fighting thorugh anemia, having to go through multiple colonoscopies, and learning to live with a chronic disease that seems to flare and subside at will.
But Rachel is lucky - she has support at home and a great group of friends who always look out for her, she has a great doctor, and she has access to drugs that on most days keep her feelilng pretty good. And she is a tough kid who, from the day she was diagnosed, has never complained and who continues to fight through periods of not feeling good so she can go to school, play soccer, and play with her friends.
In the two years since she was diagnosed, she has been through many different combinations of drugs to try to keep her Ulcerative Colitis at bay. This summer she began infustions of a drug called Remicade and we are hopeful that this will work better for her than what she has tried to date. And as a result of her last colonoscopy her doctor changed her diagnosis to Crohns Disease. This doesn't change her treatment path for now, but it is a reminder that this disease has a mind of its own and has been changing before our eyes since her diagnosis.
Living with IBD is challenging and frustrating and on some days painful. The hardest days are when Rachel does evertything right and she still doesn't feel good. She gets frustrated - as do we - that we can't 'fix' it. Rachel has told us that having her Walk team helps her to feel like she is doing something to help not only herself but others like her. Rachel understands that on the day she was diagnosed, she joined a community of over 1.6 million Americans living with IBD. She knows that more research is needed and she is super motivated to try to raise as much money as possible through Team Rachel to do her part in the quest for better treatments and a cure. Take Steps is the nation's largest event supporting vital research, treatment, and life-enriching programs for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Since its inception, Take Steps has raised more than $75 million nationally to improve the lives of those affected by these diseases.
Thank you for donating what you can to help Rachel and all the others who live with IBD. Thank you for your constant support. And thank you for speading this message and this request to others you think might want to help.
The Walk is on October 15th - we would love to have you join us and walk with Team Rachel!
For the last two years, Team Rachel has been the top fundraiser for the Northern Virginia Walk. Let's do it again!