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 ELIZABETH COOLEY
Meet “Amazing Grace!” Grace is a happy, funny 11 year-old girl who loves her two cats and everything “One Direction” (the British pop sensation)! In September, 2009, just after her 8th birthday, and just after the start of 2nd grade, Grace was sent home from school early due to a tummy ache. That tummy ache turned out to be an acute case of Ulcerative Colitis which resulted in Grace’s entire colon being removed.
For two weeks before Grace was diagnosed with UC, she suffered from extreme abdominal cramping and an extensive loss of blood. Once hospitalized at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC, she remained there for the next 49 days. During that 49-day stay, Grace was pricked and prodded, probed and poked. She had every tube connected to her and received all of her nutrition through her IV. Her disease was sudden, severe, and advanced enough that removing her colon was the only viable option. She underwent 3 surgeries between October, 2009 and March, 2010, to remove her colon and reroute her digestive system. She had an ileostomy bag for 6 months and was in the hospital for a total of 63 days. She missed most of her 2nd-grade year, a difficulty exacerbated by the fact that Grace has mild developmental delays which affect her motor skills and cognitive processing.
Grace exhibited courage and resilience in the face of pain and confusion, and she has emerged stronger, wiser, and—due to nothing short of a miracle—symptom free. Grace doesn’t want any child—or anyone!—to have to experience the pain she has, and is forever grateful to those fighting for her and making a difference!
Grace is honored to be part of the Team Challenge family and hopes you’ll share her story. Check out the short video her mom made in July, 2011, and may it inspire you to meet your Team Challenge goals! You can do it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n81WPkRsdZo
Nature lover, basketball player, Crohn's fighter. Dylan is a smart, compassionate 13 year old who was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2010 after several years of fairly significant GI issues. When he's feeling well he's very active. He's done everything from football and wrestling to basketball and soccer. He excels in school, especially math, and has lots of friends. He enjoys being outdoors in our beautiful natural environment- camping, hiking, fishing and hunting.
He's the kid who sees someone hurting and is the first to help. His heart is made of gold and his brain is brilliant. Unfortunately, he's missed more than 50 days of his 7th grade school year and had to drop out of basketball mid-season due to his guts!
His Crohn's has been in a flare since September and despite being on 90% enteral nutrition from November until March, it continues to cause him pain and frustration. He recently started Remicade and we are praying that it will get him back on his feet. Dylan looks forward to doing Team Challenge himself as soon as he is old enough and well enough and is eternally grateful to all the champions out there fighting for him!
Dylan wants to help you make a difference....Some of you have a connection to the cause, some of you do not. If you don't have a story to share Dylan encourages you to share his! He and his family do not want anyone else to have to suffer like he has and will do anything to get us closer to a cure! Check out the video Dylan and his mom made to make a difference! Feel free to share it with your friends, family and donors. Dylan thanks you for giving him a chance for a pain free future!
Check out this video and pass it along! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOdCI86zn7c