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.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's when I was just 7 years old. I was scared. How many seven year olds have to have a colonoscopy? I still remember the awful tasting drink I had to have the night before. But I perservered and got through it. (And I will have to get through it many more times as my doctor wants me to have one every five years).
My next challenge was learning how to take the now daily medication -- Pentasa and Omeprazole. I remember practicing with little candy dots the doctor gave me. I now consider myself an expert at this. Then my challenge became what foods I can and cannot eat. Not easy for someone so young. But I carefully created a regimented and healthy diet that worked -- and still works -- for me. Even so, I still experience flare-ups and debilitating stomach pain. Ironically, one of the worst happened as I was on the subway to the CCFA walk two years ago. The excruciating pain had me and my family frantically searching for a bathroom when we rushed off to the Grand Central stop. You would think it would be easy to find one. Not so...Finally we found a deli with a bathroom I could use. Let's just say that it was not the cleanest bathroom I have ever been in!
Now that I am successfully navigating my Crohn's journey, I want to create more public awareness about the disease. Believe it or not, my teachers did not understand why I needed to use the bathroom so often. I now make it a point each year to let the faculty at my school know about my Crohn's. This has really helped.
My family and I have been very active with the CCFA, raising thousands of dollars each year. Coping with this disease has also given me a strong sense of empathy towards others' struggling with this disease. It has also helped me maintain a sense of humor about my own situation. My team name -- Peri's Poopers -- says it all!
I was absolutely thrilled when Daniel Leventhal called and asked me to be this year's Honored Hero for Team Challenge. Being a runner myself, I share the same drive and dedication to excel every step of the way. I have accepted Crohn's as a life challenge and want to inspire all of you to feel the exact same way!