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.
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.
On a sunny afternoon, 10-year-old Harold Henry would prefer to be outdoors—birdwatching on the Bay or dipping his toes in the ocean. Like many kids his age, Harold is fascinated by space and astronomy and would like to be an astronaut someday.
And, like many kids his age, Harold is living with ulcerative colitis. It is estimated that of the 1.4 million Americans living with inflammatory bowel disease, at least 140,000 are under the age of 18.
Harold was diagnosed with colitis in fall 2006, and since then has been on and off maintenance drugs, including steroids and immune-suppressants. Most recently he has been taking an immune-suppressant that is given through an IV, with mixed results. It’s a frustrating battle for Harold, and for his parents, Jeremy and Bridget. "Sometimes he can be in remission for up to a month," Jeremy and Bridget say, "but it is usually not that long."
To further complicate matters, Harold was born with cerebral palsy, which limits the control he has over his limbs. Although he is non-mobile and non-verbal, he is mentally sharp and communicates well with yes/no responses, and occasionally with a computerized speech device. Harold goes to school, spending most of his time in special needs class and integrating with other fifth graders during music class and library time. "He loves being at school, learning and socializing," his parents say.
Even though the cerebral palsy can be constraining, the colitis has done much more to limit his daily activities, Bridget and Jeremy say. The colitis causes frequent abdominal pain, which keeps him from venturing out for long periods of time and sometimes keeps him home from school. The colitis, more than the cerebral palsy, keeps Harold from some of his favorite activities, like swimming.
After watching their son’s battle for more than three years, Jeremy and Bridget became involved with Team Challenge, raising money and awareness for CCFA. In December 2009, Jeremy ran the Las Vegas Half Marathon in honor of Harold. Bridget just completed the Napa to Sonoma ½ Marathon in July, 2010 and this time Harold was there to cheer his overjoyed mother across the finish line.
It is Jeremy’s and Bridget’s hope that through CCFA’s efforts, researchers will discover better treatment options for kids like Harold, and give him many more symptom-free days at the zoo and on the Bay.