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 WINTER 2014 HONOREE!
In the fall of 2010, I was just your typical 8th grader. School had just started; life was simple and carefree. My classes were a breeze and the only thing I was concerned about was making the middle school volleyball team. The next thing I knew, it was October and I was dealing with what I thought was a really bad bout of the stomach flu. It was sudden. I went from playing YMCA volleyball and watching Rays games to barely being able to move anywhere besides the couch or the toilet. In school, I could not make it from class to class without having to stop somewhere to catch my breath. Gym went from being my favorite class to my daily nightmare. As an athlete, it is hard to accept that you are physically unable to run a lap with all the other kids. You soon find yourself pretending to tie your shoe for the majority of the class just to disguise the fact that you can no longer keep up.
When you are used to being healthy, recognizing that you need help is quite difficult. After a few days we finally realized that my symptoms were not going away; if anything they got drastically worse. We decided it was time to go visit my pediatrician. Upon arrival, the doctor discovered that my resting heart rate was at over 150 beats per minute and that my hemoglobin level was at a 5, where as it should have been at around a 12. I was immediately sent to Arnold Palmer Hospital, where I met Dr. Bornstein and, after a series of tests, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.
After a week at Arnold Palmer, I was released but I was nowhere near being in the clear. The next couple of months we struggled to find the right combinations of medications and I went through a period of adjustment. I went from worrying about making the volleyball team to worrying about making it to the bathroom in time. My weight dropped to 92 pounds and my hair, which was once thick and voluminous, began to fall out. By February, I was once again on a downward spiral. Having contracted a C-Diff infection, I earned a week long stay in quarantine at the hospital as I vomited up undigested medications. The doctors were concerned that I might have mega colon and would need to have my colon removed. After an x-ray, I was told that the results were negative, a fact for which I thank God everyday, but it was no walk in the park not being able to eat or drink for the rest of my stay. By Valentine's day, I was able to return to my friends and my school work. Things settled into a new kind of normal and by the summer of 2011, I began to see my first remission, a remission I would enjoy up until the late spring of 2013. It was a nice run, full of volleyball and things I usually don't get to eat (like ice-cream) but I ended up back in the hospital missing the rest of my sophomore year.
At this point, my family and I were tired of feeling helpless and we decided that we were not going to let my condition break me. It was time to get involved and do something for the cause, for the other 1.5 million people that have suffered far worse than I have. My mom stumbled across CCFA and that is how we decided to fight back. So far, we have raised over $17,000 and completed the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. As a family, we have grown closer and as an individual, I have come to realize just how truly blessed I am to have them standing by me through both the good times and the messy ones. You never know how strong you are until strong is the only thing you can be. The way I see it, I'm competitive. There is no way I'm am going to let this disease beat me or stop me from living my life to the fullest.
THANK YOU for your SUPPORT!