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 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.
Hi all of you Team Challenge New Jersey runners and walkers! I am Alex Pedicone, the team's honoree for the upcoming summer races. I can't wait to be a part of this team! For all of you that don't know much about me, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2011 when I was just 1 week away from my 11th birthday. Best present ever, right? That was also just a few weeks before I started middle school! It was the first time I was ever in a school where I had to switch classes every 40 minutes. There were days where I went to the bathroom over a dozen times during school. Also, I couldn't sleep well because I had to get up every hour or so to use the bathroom. Good thing I don't share a bathroom with my brother! My parents and I were trying everything we could, but nothing seemed to work.
My doctor kept trying new medications. First, we tried steroids. The only thing that did for me was make my face all puffed up. Next, we tried Pentasa, a drug that was supposed to control the symptoms. I had to take up to 6 horsepills per day! I had never swallowed any medicine before that, and it didn't start small. Did it do anything? Nope. After that, my doctor put me on Imuran, which was meant to control my Crohn's, as well. After about 2 months of Imuran, I had the worst stomachache ever. I knew something was very wrong. It started on Christmas Eve, when I was at my friend's house for a small party. We all sat down for dinner, but I couldn't eat. It was like my stomach would reject anything I gave it. As the night went on, I felt much worse.
The next evening, I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't even stand the sight of food. My mom took me to the hospital, and I had pancreatitis. I had to spend about 4 days of my break in the hospital. By the time February 2012 came, I could still barely eat and I was losing weight rapidly. I went down to about 60 pounds. Later that month, I started Remicade, and I slowly started to feel better. After about 6 months, my doctor said I was in remission! That was about 1 1/2 years ago. I still get my Remicade infusions every 4 weeks. I get a needle stuck in my vein for about 3 hours, usually after school. I really don't mind it anymore. Every once in a while, we need to go for a small vein, which pinches a bit. The people at the infusion center are super nice, though!
I support my parents running, biking and swimming for CCFA. Combined, my parents have done over 10 Team Challenge events in less than 2 years! I am excited because this year, I am old enough to participate in the 2014 Jamestown half marathon! I have decided to train with the team and raise money for CCFA. I realize that for a 13 year old I have gone through a lot, but I have also met some really nice people because of my Crohn's. I can't wait to share the Team Challenge experience with you.