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.
Each of our TEAM CHALLENGE participants is matched up with an Honoree. 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- JAMES
James is six years old. He started showing symptoms that something was wrong when he was just two months old. His parents were anxious to find out what was causing the problem. At first, they hoped it would be just an allergy to milk or some other common allergen. They started off by having the usual blood and allergy tests, which turned up nothing out of the ordinary. James then had to undergo many colonoscopes and an endoscopy, which showed us that it was either allergic colitis or Ulcerative Colitis. To determine which, the doctor prescribed a formula only diet that had only elemental ingredients, so would cause no allergic reactions. The plan was that if James still showed symptoms, they would know that it was ulcerative colitis. After 8 weeks of letting James (two years old at the time) have nothing but formula, the symptoms were still prevalent. It was Christmas time in 2008 that James was finally diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis. The summer of 2009, James had another severe flare which resulted in him having to have his colon removed. He has undergone two more surgeries since then and is feeling better, but the battle has not been won yet.
James is so smart and has a great love for music, books and super heroes! He is in kindergarten now and continues to amaze his parents with his kind heart and loving personality. James told his parents that being an Honored Teammate for Team Challenge this season is a privilege and that he can’t wait to tell people how important CCFA and Team Challenge is to him!
James lives in Canton with his parents, Ross and Amelia (both have been Team Challenge participants), as well as his brother Landon and sister, Olivia. James’ birthday is October 10th!
James is excited to once again be a part of the Team Challenge Georgia Team!
MEET OUR HONOREE- SAMANTHA
Samantha Meadows made it through most of her life without any significant health issues and there was never any reason to be concerned about any since no one in her family had ever been sick with anything more than the usual cold.
After graduating from Valdosta State University in 2009, she moved back to the Atlanta area with her boyfriend. They both found good jobs and began starting their lives after college. They began a healthier lifestyle, changing from the previous “hot wings and beer diet”, were regulars at Atlanta Braves games, and spent time outdoors by the river playing with their dog.
Samantha spent a lot of time exercising at Chastain Park. “I’ve always enjoyed that time and I had just finished my Peachtree Road Race. The race was brutal. I was so ill and hadn’t told anyone, not even my boyfriend”. Soon after the Peachtree Road Race, she was walking at Chastain Park with her mom. This is where she had to FINALLY tell her mom how sick she had been feeling. They were power walking around the park and Samantha had to stop to sit on the bench because she felt sick. She was sweating, nearly passing out, seeing black and no longer able to act like nothing was wrong! She had to say something, so she told her mom—“I didn’t eat this morning because we had plans to exercise and I couldn’t risk eating if it was 3 miles before I reached the restroom”. She explained she had been losing blood, having severe stomach pains, body aches, and not getting a lot of rest for the past 2 months! After resting, and making it to the car with her mom’s help, she agreed she would make THE appointment. Samantha was fortunate enough to be diagnosed quickly with her first colonoscopy-ulcerative colitis. Let the meds begin. Samantha had never taken medications, and was not a fan of taking pills. She learned to make the exception and was on steroids and other UC prescriptions, which she had a bad reaction to. She left work for the first time due to the pain she was in, including joint and back pain, abdominal cramping, and severe fatigue. She thought she was going to rest at home because “I was fine”. These were her famous words, and her answer to everyone that asked how she was doing. After fighting with her mom and boyfriend, they pretty much carried her to the hospital where she was examined and then told to go home and take Tylenol. A few days later she went back. She was dehydrated, her blood pressure was extremely low, anemic, had pancreatitis, fevers, was losing weight, and in need of blood transfusions. Tylenol, really?
After almost a year of feeling better, Sam was reminded that summers are tough for her. She was sick again last summer with another flare. The MD tried a new medicine and she had the same reactions. She was admitted to the hospital, this time with an intestinal infection and pancreatitis.
Today Samantha is getting regular infusions, mounds of vitamins and probiotics and is training with Team Challenge for her first half in Chicago in June.
“Even though it’s been crazy and frustrating, I am blessed to have a great support system and exceptional health when I consider others who are diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis. Bring it on Summer 2013!”
Samantha is excited to be a part of the Team Challenge Georgia Team!