WHAT IS AN HONOREE?
An Honoree is someone who provides inspiration to our athletes throughout the training and fundraising period. Honorees serve as symbols of strength and motivation, support and determination. An Honoree is someone who is currently is being treated for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Honorees have the unique opportunity to connect with individuals who have committed themselves to raising funds for the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They will share their strength and courage with participants who are training to complete their endurance event.
When participants join TEAM CHALLENGE, they commit to many months of training and fundraising before completing a half marathon. They are not only motivated by their own personal fitness goals, but are truly inspired by the bravery and fortitude of each Honoree.
MEET OUR HONOREES!
I was 22 when I had my first surgery. They removed a portion of my large intestine due to a severe blockage and had to give me a temporary colostomy because my system was so damaged inside. I have spent many years very sick, malnourished and in severe pain.
In all I’ve had 6 major abdominal surgeries. Since being diagnosed I have always struggled with my weight staying over 100lbs. I have tried the majority of medications offered both pills and IV form. I have had my large intestine, ileum, rectum, appendix and gall bladder removed and in Spring 2011 I had over 22 strictures repaired in what is left of my small intestine in one surgery. My surgeon was prepared for about 3 strictures and was quite surprised with what he actually encountered.
In 2006 I was given a permanent ileostomy. It was an amazing blessing in disguise. I still struggle with my weight and ad to have IV lines since then to help supplement my nutrition with TPN. Unfortunately October 2012 I caught a very scary blood infection from the IV line and was in the ICU for over 9 days. I am lucky to still be standing today. Since then I have had to get a feeding tube in my stomach so I can have formula feedings daily to help with my nutrition.
Crohns disease stole 17 years of my life. Over the years I’ve had to give up a lot. Relationships, career, life experiences, travel, my independence, maybe even children have had to be put on the back burner all because I was so sick. Since getting my ileostomy I am at my healthiest ever, despite the nutritional challenges.
I learned about Team Challenge from my CCFA support group. During August 2010 I signed up to be the team honoree and as the honoree I shared my story with people who came out to the information meetings, hoping to inspire them to sign up and fundraise for the team in training. After the first couple meetings of sharing my story, hearing why people were there to sign up, and listening to the mentors & coach, I felt that I might be able to do something more for Team Challenge. So, I also signed up to train and fundraise with Team Challenge. On Dec. 5, 2010, I walked my first half-marathon with Team Challenge in Las Vegas! To think that only 4 years prior I was 72lbs and bedbound…I had come a long way.
I have anew purpose in life—to support the CCFA and research anyway I can so others don’t have to go through what I’ve been through. We have to help diagnose, treat and end this disease. This can only be done with our families and communities coming together to raise money to support the research.
For the last six years, Cam has been living with Crohn’s disease, a chronic and often painful digestive disease. He has always been a very healthy child. He is super active in sports, loves traveling with his family and hanging out at the beach. He was NEVER sick. Then one day he was. At first the doctor told his mom that he had a stomach virus and was advised to let it run its course.
Then he had blood work, and the doctor was still at a loss. Cam was then sent to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. His diagnosis was a long land painful experience. Cam spent Feb-April 2008 going from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, and having test after test. Drink this, sit still, hold your breath, don’t move! He had fierce stomach and intestinal pains and a lot of diarrhea and even some blood in his stools. At this point he had lost 24 pounds, from having chronic diarrhea and could hardly eat anything.
Finally he had to two procedures called a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. These two tests and the biopsy finally gave Cam’s parents his diagnosis, he has Crohn’s disease. All he wanted to do was go to school, play sports and hang out with his friends and family. Cam’s life as he knew it had changed forever. He had lost so much of his freedom. There were days Cam just could not get out of bed because of the pain. Other days he could not leave his house because he could not be far from a restroom.
Cam has a great attitude towards his new routine. He has taken up to 16 pills a day. This continued until October 2012. He was then diagnosed as failure to thrive. He was so sick and not responding to oral medications. Cam began Infusions of Remicade. He received three doses of this very powerful medication and on March 17th, 2013 his world changed all over again. Cameron was rushed to the hospital with extreme abdominal pain. Pain he had never experienced before. Diagnosis: Perforation of intestines!
Cameron (at 15ys of age) lost a third of his colon, 15cm of small intestines and had a temporary Ileostomy. June 2013 Cameron went in for surgery again, this time to reattach and remove his Ileostomy. He continues to have a “normal” childhood and still loves to play golf, basketball and hang out at the beach as long as he is up to it.
Cameron is very grateful to the opportunities he has been given as an Honoree and more so the people he has met that are now considered family. Cam wishes he did not have Crohn’s disease. He deals with it the best he can with the support of his family, friends and his wonderful Doctors. He knows there are others out there far worse than him, but with your help you can help us find a cure for this awful disease.
We are honored that people like you have joined Team Challenge to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and to hopefully find a cure in the near future