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.
Grace is 6 years old and is in Kindergarten. Don’t let her shy demeanor fool you… once you get her going she is quite the ham. Grace loves to dress up but isn’t scared to get dirty. Her mom, Nikki, likes to call Grace her tomboy in a tutu or her little princess. January 2011 is when her symptoms first started – She was lucky and diagnosed just before her 4th birthday in March. Initial diagnosis was Celiac Disease and UC. A year later after steroids and Pentasa, her inflammation was still going up so she was re-scoped twice, second time for camera pill) and found inflammation in her stomach leading to a new diagnosis of Indeterminate Colitis. Fortunately her current treatment of 6MP has reduced the inflammation while she follows a Gluten Free, Lactose Free diet and avoids fried foods, popcorn, nuts and too many raw veggies and fiber. She is aware of her diet limitations and for the most part accepts the, but misses white powdered donuts the most! Her parents try to make sure they always have special treats when they go out so she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. They even bought a donut maker to make gluten free donuts that are “okay but totally not the same as the original” ;) One of the biggest struggles for Grace is the constant blood draws. When she was going every other week she’d wake up screaming holding her arm at night.
Grace is one tough girl, despite all the struggles her and her family have gone through they still are able to have a fun and fulfilling life for this youngster. Grace stays busy with tap and ballet lessons and she is really looking forward to her first On Stage performance in June! She also has some mad skills out in the desert on her quad and is giving soccer another go around, but may be into it more for the fashion than the sport itself. Her mom likes to keep her busy and active so she doesn’t have to time to think about being diagnosed. But when she is feeling sick or at the doctors Grace is able to play by herself for hours with her Littlest Pet shop toys, Squinkies and Polly pockets. She loves the Little Mermaid or really anything Disney Princess, Panda Bears (even though she loves all animals), the color PINK, and her family – she has very supportive grandparents, aunts and uncle that would do anything for her and she loves them all. She also loves outer space and looking at the stars and one day wants to travel into space or walk on the moon. Chick-Fil-A is one of her favorite foods because they have Gluten Free nuggets and a play structure – and this is when she gets to splurge and have a few French fries or a mini sundae!
Grace and her family are very excited to be Honored Heroes for the season and hope that this helps bring more awareness so that Grace can grow up around friends and family that understand her disease and won’t make her feel embarrassed about it. And of course, finding a cure in Grace’s lifetime. It’s a horrible feeling as a mother to see your child suffer and not be able to do anything about it.