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 HONOREE!
I was diagnosed with Crohns disease in 1995 at the age of 17. Fortunately, because of my family history I was diagnosed with Crohns very quickly. My dad and aunt both have Crohns disease.
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.