Meet our Honoree, Dylan!
In the picture above, there is one head that’s above the rest right in the middle of the goal...that’s me, Dylan Jewell. This was June 10, 2012, the day that my lacrosse team won our division championships! I was the goalie and my team carried me off that day because the score was 7-2 and we were the champs! This was my first season of lacrosse and our team’s record was 13-1 for the season! I’ve gone on to play travel lacrosse last fall and I’m looking forward to the spring 2013 season. Basically I’m just a regular 10 year old boy who goes to school, plays sports, hangs out with friends and loves his family...oh; I also have Crohn’s Disease.
Let me tell you how I got here. In November 2008 I seemed to have the flu. I felt pretty bad for a week or so and had all the normal flu symptoms. After about 14 days my parents were concerned that I wasn’t really any better, and new symptoms were starting to crop up. I was in Tae Kwon Do and my legs started to hurt when I ran. My ankles, knees, shins, thighs, all hurt and I just wanted to sit down. I even made my dad carry me up and down the stairs. My mom kept taking me to doctors and I kept up with my “flu” symptoms. They started throwing out big words that scared my parents and in the mean time I couldn’t even be excited about all the school I was missing because I felt so bad!
Finally in December, I walked away from my mom with my shirt off and she got all teary and told my dad I was wasting away in front of her and she wasn’t taking it any more! The next morning she took me to the doctor and they admitted me to Fairfax Hospital. Because no one knew what I had we ended up with a private room with an extra bed for my mom! Oh, and there weren’t any beds available in the younger pediatric side so they put me in the adolescent wing right next to the game room!! I had a flat screen TV and access to Playstation and Wii! The nurses even let me order anything I wanted from the kitchen when I was able to eat! So cool! My mom would like me to insert here that this is how I felt about much of my stay, but my parents have very different memories!
On the 7th day of our stay they told my parents they wanted to do an early morning blood test the next day and follow it up with a couple of tests that I’d sleep through. Something about a camera where?? This did not sound good, but my mom swore to me that I’d never know what was happening. This was my first colonoscopy/endoscopy. After these tests my pediatric Gastroenterologist sat with us and told us I had Crohn’s Disease. My parents were like, “ok, what’s that and what does it mean for his life?” Dr. Liebowitz told us that Crohn’s was a disease to live with and that properly monitored I could live to be 100. My parents have told me that after 10 scary days of living the show House, they were so thankful to find out I had something that we could work with.
That year I was in first grade, I missed all but 2.5 days of school in 2 months. When I went back I was on steroids that made my face puffy and hair grow in strange places, but I didn’t have any flu symptoms and I’d started walking by myself again! At first I couldn’t swallow the Pentasa that I had to take 4 times a day so my mom would break open the pills and dump them inside a vanilla Oreo cookie. We finally worked my body off of the steroids and the weird hair went away. I had my 7th birthday in April 2009 and that summer I attended CCFA’s Camp Oasis in West Virginia and I was the youngest camper in attendance!
I’m pretty lucky. I have a very non-aggressive form of Crohn’s and most days I’m just a regular healthy kid. I play sports, go to school, argue with my sisters, play outside with my friends and text on my phone all the time. Crohn’s is a part of my every day life, but it doesn’t define who I am.
My family has been involved with CCFA since 2008 and we have met many people who have stories similar to mine. My mom and I participated in IBD Day on the Hill this past year and my parents joined Team Challenge for VA Wine last June and raised over $5,000. Once, we had no idea what Crohn’s Disease was but now we do and we know how important the funds being raised by CCFA and Team Challenge are to finding a cure for this disease in my lifetime.
For myself and for my family I can’t tell you how much it means to us that you’re here...as a participant, a fundraiser, a supporter...you are needed and appreciated!