Hi my name Jessie Kaden! I am sixteen years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2009. Starting in fifth grade, I began to experience Crohn’s-like symptoms. My doctors were not sure what was causing the pain and did not agree with my mothers’ suspicions that I was displaying symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), despite knowing there was a history of the disease in the family. On my 13th birthday, I ended up in the emergency room with excruciating stomach pain, which promoted my parents to take me to a GI doctor.
After a colonoscopy and endoscopy, the doctors diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease. Along with my Crohn’s disease, I also suffer from other systemic complications that often come with the disease. I recently had two painful kidney stones and have had multiple surgeries to treat and repair my urinary tract. Every day is a struggle, yet I try to stay focused on getting better.
It is a balancing act trying to juggle Crohn’s disease, AP classes and typical teenage strife, but with my support system I am able to get through the daily struggles and the obstacles placed in front of me. I have a big support system made up of my school friends, my siblings, my dad and my mom who is my best friend, care taker and all around supermom. My biggest support system of all is all of my Camp Oasis friends. I would describe Camp Oasis as my second home, a place where I feel normal and everybody understands. Camp Oasis is a one week sleep away camp for kids who have IBD founded by CCFA. I have had the most amazing experiences there both as a camper and as a Leader in Training and look forward to returning next summer as a second year LIT. Camp Oasis has taught me so much about my disease but more importantly about myself.
Now I am looking forward cheering on my Dad, being an inspiration to the team as this season's honored hero and I cannot wait to head to Napa!!!
My name is Deborah Mackler Gordon and I am honored to be selected as an Honored Hero for Team Challenge. I was a late entrant to the Crohn’s and Colitis community. I was diagnosed when I was 30. Prior to that I ran the gambit of testing to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of my discomfort. When I was finally diagnosed it was amazing to learn many of my family members on my mom’s side had suffered with “nervous stomachs” and claims of “bad diets” and “poor eating habits”. Well those of us with any form of Inflamatory Bowel Disease (IBD) know it is real and know with proper care and health management we can definitely feel better. Being part of Team Challenge has health benefits as well whether you have IBD or not.
I had done my share of local walks to support CCFA and loved the events and camaraderie. I always thought I would advance to more challenging events…the Iron Man in Hawaii?...the New York Marathon?....Mets Fantasy Camp? (Ask me about my conversation with Bud Harrelson!) But then two friends from CCFA told me about Team Challenge and I thought I can do this!
My first attempt at the TC Half Marathon was in Vegas 2011. I finished alongside two dear friends I made on the team and we had the time of our lives…all 3 hours and 45 minutes of it! After that I did the Diva Half Marathon here on Long Island and shaved some time off my Vegas pace…and this year I did the Vegas Half again and came in at 3 hours and 23 minutes! No records were broken…but neither were any bones! And believe it or not I look forward to continuing my training and participating in many future events. The benefits go well beyond what you are doing to support CCFA. What you get in return is priceless!
Thank you for joining us this season! Welcome to Team Strong Island!
One Team! One Goal!