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!
Our Honoree for Chicago 2013 is Ella Corbitt. Read more of Ella's story, as told by her parents, Jim and Stephanie, below.
Ella is currently a happy healthy 5 year old, but just a year ago she was battling with a flare that caused her extreme stomach pain, headaches, sleepless nights, drastic weight loss and frequent trips to the bathroom due to Crohn’s disease. Ella was diagnosed with Crohn's in November of 2011 at the age of 4. Ella had 2 episodes, which we later learned were flares, of bloody, loose stool which prompted her pediatrician to run some blood tests. The test results came back with markers for IBD, inflammatory bowel disease. I was shocked, I didn't know much about this illness, but just imagine finding out your daughter could have a lifelong disease at the age of 4!
We were directed to visit a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. Ella had to do a day long cleanse the day before and be put under for the procedure. We were told immediately that she had IBD, most likely Colitis. We started her on medication, which didn't work and had to put her on a steroid. Steroids have many dangerous side effects, including stunting growth and liver damage. The steroid did stop her flare, however, once off of it she started a flare again almost immediately.
We were feeling pretty desperate and scared when heard about Team Challenge and decided it could be a great way to meet people going through similar situations. As a bonus we would be raising money for research and getting in shape all at the same time. Team Challenge members recommended a Dr. for Ella and that we attend the CCFA’s family education day. Thankfully we took their advice. Her new Dr. said she definitely had Crohn’s disease and started her on a new course of medications. During the worst of her illness Ella was taking 8 different medications and lost 5 pounds, which is more than 10% of her weight. Currently she is on 3 medications and some supplements and back at a healthy weight. She has been healthy for 7 months now!
Team Challenge has changed our lives forever. We have a wonderful support system, amazing new friends and we have even grown to love running! Jim, Ella’s dad is now a coach for the Dayton team and we will remain part of Team Challenge and the CCFA until there is a cure!
Thank you for reading Ella’s story!
Stephanie and Jim Corbitt