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 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.
MEET OUR HONOREE Rachel melman!
I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in December 2007 when I was 24 but I first starting getting symptoms about one and a half years before. At first, it was the occasional stomach ache which I thought was lactose intolerance, so I greatly reduced the amount of dairy I ate. That worked for a year. Then, after I finished grad school and started my first job, I started getting stomach aches all the time. I also started having diarrhea after everything I ate and the stomach aches kept getting worse. I started eating less because eating felt awful, so I started losing weight. I finally went to the doctor after realizing I had no idea how to distinguish between stomach pain and hunger. By the time I got diagnosed, I was pale, thin, anemic, and had a carbohydrate malnutrition.
Since my diagnosis, I have had three flares. The first was a very acute flare that sent me to the Emergency Room and resulted in a short overnight stay in the hospital. The second was much slower in developing, but was easily handled through a change in medication from pills that I took 3 times a day (4 at a time) to a shot I gave myself every 2 weeks. The third flare sent me to the operating table. I had developed antibodies to my medication (that is, my immune system started attacking the drugs) and adding steroids to my regimen wasn't helping. So, my doctor and I decided the best course of action was to resect part of my intestines.
My resection was performed in July of this year and since then, I have been feeling great. I am recovering well and have started a new medication (another shot like the last one). Luckily, there were other options for me, but if I develop antibodies to this drug, I will only have two options left. CCFA helps fund critical research into new treatments (and hopefully a cure for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis). Hopefully this new medication will last a long time; but, if not, I will need more options.
Thank you for participating in Team Challenge and helping fund the research that will bring me and other IBD patients a cure!