I am honored to be running the Boston Marathon this April. This will be my 7th full marathon, and I couldn't be happier to be completing it in Boston, as it has been a life goal to run this course! I am participating in John Hancock’s Non-Profit Program by fundraising for The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
This organization is very important to me, as my brother is affected by Ulcerative Colitis. I have witnessed first-hand his battle since diagnosis at age 18. He has endured many hospitalizations, treatments, and has to consider the possibility of surgery in the future. He has missed out on opportunities and events due to illness in both his personal life and at work. Although he is affected by UC, he does not let it get the best of him. He maintains a positive attitude, and pushes himself to accomplish the most in his career in the Army. He has been selected to compete in multiple Soldier of the Year competitions, and has maintained perfect physical fitness scores throughout his military career. He has been awarded medals and awards for his honorable achievements. He pursues a fit and active lifestyle to the full extent possible. He enjoys lifting at the gym, running, hiking, hunting, fishing and anything else outside. Because of the outgoing, active person my brother is, it makes it even harder to see him endure the times where his body is most affected by his illness. He has endured episodes lasting for months of constant fevers, loss of appetite, pain and rapid weight loss since his diagnosis. In-between these occurrences he works hard to restore what his body has lost, however, the constant reminder of this disease for him is how it affects his eligibility to pursue more challenging assignments in the military.
By fundraising for The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, I hope to contribute to mission of the foundation, which is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.
Please consider helping meet my entry goal of $5,000 by donating to The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America through my fundraising page by clicking "Donate to this Fundraiser," located at the top right hand side of this page. Any amount will be helpful in getting me closer to accomplishing my goal!
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who first described the disease in 1932 along with colleagues Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer, Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. When reading about inflammatory bowel diseases, it is important to know that Crohn’s disease is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) are different. Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine. Crohn’s disease can also affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall, while ulcerative colitis only involves the innermost lining of the colon. Finally, in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation of the intestine can “skip”-- leaving normal areas in between patches of diseased intestine. In ulcerative colitis this does not occur.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon. Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body's immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations. It’s important to understand the difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but ulcerative colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the colon. While both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), they should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the colon. IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.
About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America:
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D. Since our founding over four decades ago, CCFA has remained at the forefront of research in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Today, we fund cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurture investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finance underdeveloped areas of research. In addition, our educational workshops and programs, along with our scientific journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, enable medical professionals to keep pace with this rapidly growing field. We are very proud that the National Institutes of Health has commended us for "uniting the research community and strengthening IBD research." The mission of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. CCFA sponsors basic and clinical research of the highest quality. We also offer a wide range of educational programs for patients and health care professionals, while providing supportive services to help people cope with these chronic intestinal diseases. These programs are supported solely through our donors, grants, and fundraising efforts. CCFA consistently meets standards established by the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance as well as other charity watchdog organizations.