i was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when i was 17 years old. from that point forward, i promised myself i would do whatever it takes to not only beat this disease, but help others who had just been diagnosed at the age i was diagnosed at.
at the time of my diagnosis (2004), there wasnt much information that told me what to expect, what i was in for and that it would take me almost 2 years to meet someone (my age) with the exact disease i had. if there was one thing that i wished all of the google searches id done then would have told me, it would be “expect the unexpected!!”. two years after my initial diagnosis, during a series of colonoscopies/endoscopy & an emergency surgery, i was told i had UC; what?! confused? you bet. uneducated? yep. determined to find an answer… absolutely. but that all came later.
2 hours away from home, i began college, taking 25+ pills a day, in addition to an infusion i received at the hospital about every 4 weeks. this was the first time i was away from my GI, my family and my main support group. so, i began to seek resources & online support groups in college for advice how to get through college. i was lucky enough to become connected with the CCFA (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America) and develop lifelong friendships with many.
i cant look back and honestly tell you college was the greatest experience of my life, but being able to deal with 2 terrifying diseases on my own was one of the greatest gifts i could have given myself. in 2010, i graduated, with honors after deciding to enroll in a 5 year program in order to get the two degrees i wanted. fast forward a few years & here i am today. still advocating, still hoping, still doing absolutely all i can to raise awareness for autoimmune diseases, in hopes that someday i’ll be able to say “i used to have crohn’s.”
in 2013, i began using an app that donates money to certain foundations tracking each mile you walk, run or bike. for me, it’s my way of giving back to a charity (CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) that has done so much for me as an individual & has built my confidence in coming to terms with my disease. i was asked to be part of the Charity Miles “Spotlight On” series, in which i will be a part of after i complete my half-marathon. there have been so many amazing milestones on my journey with IBD, but i can honestly say the best part has been being able to bring to light some of the most challenging things we go through that shouldn’t be so hard to talk about in public.
over the past year, i trained for a half-marathon in Chicago with Team Challenge, something many with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis never dream of doing. my disease is extremely sensitive to endurance training, so it was been a hard road and at times, i have had to stop entirely due to periods of time in the hospital. i accomplished my first half-marathon on june 7 & was one of the most rewarding things i have ever done in my entire life. my journey was not easy & i was not even expecting to finish half of it, after becoming sicker after i left the hospital after surgery on 3/30/14. i cant wait to be back on the road training my body, my mind & freeing my soul. the best thing is, im raising money along my journey to find a cure just by using my iPhone! i invite you to follow my journey not only fighting this disease on behalf of myself & my crohnies, but celebrating the milestones on our way to finding a cure!
☑ 13.1 miles 6-7-2014
http://www.active.com/donate/chicagoWI14/kellyontherun help me cure IBD! donate.
each race i continue to do after my half will be dedicated to fundraising to find a cure for IBD as i use Charity Miles to train, proudly wear my Team Challenge singlet to run in & continue to raise funds for each of the road races i participate in. im in it to win it – running after a cure.