Meet our Honoree, Hayden!
My name is Hayden Russell and in December of 2010 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 12. Looking at me, you probably wouldn’t guess that I have a chronic disease that I have to deal with. During the fall of 2010, I started getting very sick and lost a lot of weight. I had to spend Christmas in the hospital, missed a lot of school, and had more tests and procedures performed on me than most people have in a lifetime. Through all of this, it was important to me that I not let Crohn’s control my life.
Since being diagnosed I have not technically been considered in remission. I've had some flare ups (matter of fact I am fighting one as I write this), I’ve had to change meds, I’ve had a lot of procedures and doctor’s appointments, and I have to deal with my parents who worry too much. My form of Crohn’s is considered moderate to severe and I'm hopeful that my current medication will keep me feeling well for a long time. With Crohn's disease, different treatments work for different people. For me, some of the easy things didn't work, but I want you to know that I am still a normal 15-year-old who loves to have a good time, play lacrosse, and I get the most out of every day. Over the past 3 years, even when I’m not feeling well I try to fight through it and not miss out on anything. Crohn's will not control me.
I want a cure, I want more and better treatment options, I want people to be more aware of Crohn's and what patients go through. However, most important, I want other kids and teens to know that they are not alone and to NEVER GIVE UP! We will persevere!
As you can probably imagine, most people don’t like to bring attention to their Crohn's, but at the same time I know I have to in order to help others. My dad, my aunt, and a friend of my Dad’s have all run for me as a part of Team Challenge and CCFA (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) the past couple years. This year my family will continue to raise awareness and raise funds to help me and the millions of others who have to deal with this disease every day. Thankfully the CCFA is working hard to find a cure for my disease and to find new treatments to help make a life with Crohn's and colitis more manageable.
Your love, prayers, and support mean more to us than you will ever know.