I am currently a junior at UConn in the NEAG School of Education studying Special Education, and am just finishing up my first year as a member of the . Much of my childhood was spent in Naperville, Illinois, but since the beginning of high school I have called Ridgefield, Connecticut my home with my parents and two younger sisters, Sarah who is 15 and Jane who is 13.
After being involved with everything and anything growing up, my time and priorities are now split between teaching and community service, my love for basketball, and working with the council. I came across CCFA my freshman year of college, and it has totally changed my life since then. When I was in fifth grade, my dad became extremely sick and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which really affected my family. But then, in my senior year of high school I received the same diagnosis and was completely devastated. Within the following 6 months I had an ileosesectomy, Sarah was diagnosed, and then Jane was diagnosed. Just like that, four out of the five members of my family had received the same diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.
When I went to college that spring I was still uncomfortable with my IBD and didn’t really know how to deal with it, especially away from home. It wasn’t until the middle of my freshman year that I found CCFA and signed up for Team Challenge in Virginia. I had never run before, and never really met anybody with Crohn’s or colitis outside of my family. I could never have anticipated the support, love, and relationships that came from those long training runs and our adventure running 13.1 miles together on race day. This was the turning point for me, because it was after this that I found the National Youth Leadership Council and met some of the greatest people I know.
Crohn’s Disease suddenly started bringing me opportunities, and CCFA has been the door to those experiences. My sister now goes to Camp Oasis, and I continually talk to her about how cool it is to have friends that “get it.” I think that’s the best part for kids, teenagers, and young adults about CCFA, that it allows us to interact with people who understand what we’re all going through, hear their stories, and work together to find a cure.