I am currently a senior at UConn in the NEAG School of Education studying Special Education, and am just finishing up my second year as a member of 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 ileocecectomy, my younger sister Sarah was diagnosed, and then my youngest sister Jane was diagnosed. Just like that, four of the five members of my family had received the same diagnosis of Crohn's Disease.
When I went to college in the 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 of 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 Council of College Leaders 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. I am now a counselor at Camp Oasis, had the opportunity to speak at Day on the Hill in Washington DC, volunteer at any CCFA event that I can find, and cherish moments with the good friends I have made through my diagnosis. Meeting people who "get it" and have the same passion of working toward a cure as I do is the best part of being involved with CCFA!