You’re sick, and no one can tell you why. Imagine how that would make you feel. Now imagine having those feelings for five years. This scenario was my day-to-day life between 2003 and 2008. For five years I was in and out of the doctor’s office, being erroneously diagnosed and improperly treated, even undergoing two (unnecessary) surgeries. Until finally, after being seen by numerous doctors and surgeons, my surgeon pulled the sword from the stone and revealed the truth about why I had been getting so sick so often: Crohn’s Disease.
Relief. Finally, answers and understanding came rushing into my life. I could research, ask questions, learn, and finally translate what my body had been trying to tell me for so long.
“Three months after being diagnosed in December 2008, I decided I was going to run my first half-marathon.”
Enter a new life Goliath: to help find a cure and fight the power of the disease to control my life, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. And that’s exactly what I started to do. But I took the step-by-step idea to a bit more of a literal level. Three months after being diagnosed in December 2008, I decided I was going to run my first half-marathon. Despite the concerns of my family, I signed up for Team Challenge, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s (CCFA’s) training program. This decision effectively launched me onto the path of running my first-ever half marathon raising money for a cure.
Skip ahead four years. I have now raised over $10,000 while running three half-marathons, accomplishing a personal goal I call my Team Challenge Trifecta.
Running in these half-marathons not only marked a huge milestone of accomplishment for me on a personal level, but also empowered me with the desire to speak openly about my private, and often invisible, disease in public and promote awareness for it for the first time in my life. This also marked a significant change for me and my life with Crohn’s Disease.
This is about when David&Goliath’s Defiance Club stepped into my journey. I work in a remote office in Irvine, CA, about an hour outside of David&Goliath’s home base in El Segundo, CA. This can often make me feel a bit disconnected from the company’s core, with weeks often passing before I pay a visit to HQ. I felt that applying for a donation through the Defiance Club would not only help me reach my fundraising goal for my next race, but also help spread awareness for the cause amongst my coworkers, whom I so rarely see.
“It’s not simply about contributing money to help a cause or help someone overcome a fear; the Defiance Club is about empowerment.”
The Defiance Club stepped up and helped me hit it out of the park. In addition to the half-marathon endurance training program, the CCFA hosts the Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis Walk every year across the country. The walk is an opportunity for family, friends, coworkers, and the community to come together, promote awareness and help fund a cure for a cause. With the help of the Defiance Club, my team, Quit Your Crohning, and I together raised $3,623. I was recognized as the Top Individual Fundraiser for the Orange County Walk, raising nearly $3,100. Additionally, as a Crohn’s disease patient, it was an honor to have been named as a 2013 Honored Hero in the Orange County Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis Walk for my involvement with the CCFA, as well as serving as an inspiration and motivation for other patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
This is exactly what the Defiance Club is all about. It’s not simply about contributing money to help a cause or help someone overcome a fear; the Defiance Club is about empowerment. The actions of the club are just a small part of my journey with Crohn’s Disease. But the assistance the club provided, helping to empower the cause while I battle my Goliath every day, illustrates perfectly how D&Gers do what they fear and watch it disappear.
Learn more about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis at www.ccfa.org.