Team Challenge Honoree: Gavin Cox
Team Challenge Mentors: Linda, Melissa, Brian, Tom!
I joined Team Challenge after my wife, Kim, was diagnosed with severe Crohn's in July 2011. Since then, I have completed 4 half marathons. This will be my 6th season with Team Challenge and my forth as a Mentor. In the last 24 months, I have learned there are many people in my life that suffer from some form of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) or have a family member or friend that suffers from an IBD. It is difficult to express in words the sense of accomplishment, and camaraderie, you will experience the first time you complete an endurance event. I am proud to represent Team Challenge and the CCFA.
In the spring of 2013, I joined Team Challenge to run a half marathon and raise money for my daughter Zoey and others afflicted with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. Training with other members of Team Challenge proved to be a great experience on numerous fronts. The journey to train and raise money for TC enabled me to meet many great people, become more educated about Crohn’s and UC, and to be inspired in more ways than I realized. I also underestimated the positive impact meeting others with Crohn’s would have on Zoey. Prior to Team Challenge I had never before competed in any race of any duration and figured I would participate one time for this great cause. Being a member of Team Challenge is hard work but I gained so much more than I gave. I was able to raise money to help find a cure for a disease my daughter has plus meet so many inspiring people with amazing stories. As soon as my race was over I knew I had to remain a part of Team Challenge. I am excited to embark on another fantastic journey with Team Challenge!
I joined Team Challenge in Spring of 2012 to fulfill my desire of completing a half marathon while supporting and fundraising for an organization near and dear to my heart.
I suffer from Crohn’s Disease, I have my entire life, but was finally diagnosed at the age of 27 after giving birth to my first son and suffering a terrible episode that hospitalized me. I am now 41 and happy to report that much of my recent years I have spent in remission with flare ups only now and again. I have learned with the help of integrative digestive disease doctors, dieticians specializing in IBDs, frequents scans and a healthy lifestyle, I can manage Crohn’s with very little medication.
The training I did with Team Challenge was epic! The training schedule, support and guidance of the phenomenal coaches, the friendships and camaraderie achieved with members of the team were like no other. With 3 beautiful women by my side, us first timers completed our half marathon in beautiful Napa Valley, CA with tears streaming down our faces in pure joy and excitement as well having kicked Crohn’s in the teeth for not keeping us from fulfilling a dream! What a rewarding experience and one that also helped me open up about my disease to friends and family bringing awareness and much needed funds to find better treatment options and someday a cure.
I am super excited and proud to be coming back as a mentor for Team Challenge. It’s an honor and a privilege and I look forward to helping new team members enjoy their own rewarding journey!
Meet Mentor Linda:
I joined Team Challenge in 2011 in honor of my sister Sharon who has Crohn's. Training for a half marathon with the awesome Team Challenge coaches has been very fulfilling. It's a great way to inform the community about ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and the need to fund research to find a cure. It's an inspiring experience to train alongside others who share your passion for good health while you work toward your personal goal of completing a half marathon in a beautiful setting.
Meet Honored Hero: Gavin Cox
Our sweet boy Gavin was diagnosed with Crohn’s just shy of his 10th birthday. Although we finally found an answer to his fatigue, failure to thrive, and abdominal pain, we know there is a long road ahead of us.
Our lives have been a series of doctor’s appointments and tests over the last two years. Gavin is being treated by four specialists and has received infusions and shots to help put him into remission. Like many sufferers of IBD, Gavin has had to battle other medical problems. He is currently undergoing further genetic testing to determine if he has a rare chromosomal abnormality that links Crohns and Familial Mediterranean Fever in which he was diagnosed in early 2014.
Being a part of team challenge this fall was a pivotal turning point in mentally fighting this disease for our family. We had no idea so many children were affected by IBD. For the first time, Gavin did not feel alone. He was able to meet other kids through support groups and adults who have so bravely fought this disease. My teammates, coaches, and mentors were there for us during my son’s battles and physically preparing me for my first half marathon in Vegas. The support from my family and friends during my fundraising was overwhelming. Every step we take with team challenge brings us one step closer to a cure.
Today Gavin is still able to attend public school and pitches on his baseball team. If he does not get drafted to the Major Leagues, he wants to become a doctor. He may be small, but he is a fighter.