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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Take Steps to Cure Crohn's and Colitis!!

In 2007, I was busy juggling Spanish and Honors classes, Nursing clinicals, teaching Sunday School, and NCAA Division I athletics as a diver. In the middle of the fall semester, I was hospitalized and given the life-altering diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. UC is an autoimmune inflammation of the large intestine, leading to abdominal pain, cramps, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies. Because of UC, I had to take time off school, change my major, and quit diving as my life began to revolve around my illness. I went through innumerable tests, medications, infusions, treatments, hospitalizations... and rolls of toilet paper.

After two years, I'd unsuccessfully tried every medication approved for UC (and a few that weren't!), so it was time to have surgery. Four surgeries and 25 hospitalizations later, I'm down 7.5 feet of intestine, but not an inch of my faith in Jesus or my sense of humor! Although I no longer have a large intestine, I still face many chronic health issues triggered by my UC and the treatments I endured to manage it. I have to take more medications than my grandparents, and my calendar is booked with doctor's appointments.

My story is far from unusual among those who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, the two most common forms of IBD, affect 1.4 million Americans. To put that in perspective: for every child in the US with cancer, there are 400 Americans with IBD (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/cancer-prevalence). There is no cure and little awareness for IBD. The treatments we currently have come with daunting side-effects, and only work for a limited number of people for a limited amount of time. Drastic, life-altering surgery to remove the affected intestine is often needed.

On May 19, I am thrilled and honored to be partnering with the United Colon Vlog Team at the Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis Walk! The Take Steps Walk is a fundraising walk put on by the CCFA (Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America) to funds research for better treatments, support for those affected by IBD, and Camp Oasis, a camp for kids who suffer from IBD. Obviously this is a cause that is very close to my heart. So many people have asked me what they can do to help me. I would be honored if you would join my team and walk with us. Additionally, my personal goal is to raise $800.00. I would be grateful if you would forgo your favorite Starbucks beverage once or twice and instead put that money towards this worthy cause. Every donation, no matter how small, gets us one step closer to a future without IBD.

Help me reach my goal!

Click here to see our page.

Click here to see my personal page, to donate and/or to walk with me!

Thanks for your support!!

Hannah ;)

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