What is an Honoree?
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.
Meet Team New Jersey's Honoree!
Hello Team Challenge, my name is Jill Collado. I am 38 years old and have been living with Crohn's Disease for the last 15 years. In my family - my brother, aunt, and two cousins also suffer from Crohn's Disease.
Within the first few years after my diagnoses I tried various medications, but nothing seemed to work. After several long hospitalizations, my doctors finally decided to try one of the more aggressive biologic medications. I received an IV infusion every eight weeks. I was thrilled at the effectiveness, and was in remission for many years. I finally knew what it felt like to feel "normal."
I was healthy enough to work, get married and have children. But, after the birth of my son, I started to have severe side effects from the new medication. These side effects were worse than the Crohn's disease itself. I lived with the side effects for years, because the medicine was still keeping my colon healthy. I lived with them until my second pregnancy, when the hormones seemed to flip a switch and my body responded with renewed health.
Shortly after having my 2nd child, a daughter, I joined Team Challenge. I wanted to raise money to help find a cure, and I wanted to challenge myself to do something I never thought possible. I raised over $12,000, was chosen to speak at the Team Challenge Inspirational Pasta Party in front of thousands of people, and finished a half marathon. All of these things were major achievements for me. But all of it paled in comparison to the friendships and support I found through Team Challenge.
I quickly signed up to be a Team Challenge mentor for the next season. But, when my health again took a turn for the worse, I was forced to drop out. I was no longer able to be on my medication, because the side effects were back and they were worse. Doctor's weren't sure what to try next. They tried different medications, but none of them were effective. I was at the lowest point ever in my medical history, all while working a full time job and raising two children. Now I am on a trial medication that seems to be working. For the first time since I can remember I am hopeful and optimistic. And, I am hoping to be in Virginia, not only as an honoree, but as a Team Challenge participant. I look forward to crossing that finish line once again.
The money that the CCFA and Team Challenge raise is critical for the 1.4 million people suffering from Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis. Thank you for considering to join this amazing team!