Introducing the 2014 Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis Honored Hero Rachel Bohanan

Our local Honored Heroes are our inspiration and the reason why we Take Steps. Rachel's inspiring story is below and you can read more and follow Rachel's wonderful blog, Living as a Crohn's Newlywed.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the fall of 2011 at 24 years of age. Most of my life I struggled with stomach problems. Doctors told me I had a nervous stomach and needed to change my diet to include more fiber. I didn’t seem to get better, only worse over time.
By the summer of 2011, I was spending hours in the restroom each day. I was nauseated, crippled over in pain, blood in my stool and way too much diarrhea. Finally after one colonoscopy in the Fall, I finally had answers. I had been living with Crohn’s disease for years.  I had become so accustomed to my symptoms that I did not realize how abnormal they actually were.
Once I was diagnosed, I was unaware of the roller coaster I was about to experience. I was immediately put on a bunch of medications including prednisone. I bloated up like a balloon. I felt even more miserable getting accustomed to the drugs.
Two months later, my husband proposed and wedding planning began. Planning a wedding was difficult in the midst of learning to manage a new autoimmune disease and changing my diet. Thankfully, I have a great husband and family who helped me. By the spring of 2012, I was feeling much better. And on my wedding day in June, I made it through the whole day feeling great. God blessed me with a wonderful wedding day with no awful visits to the restroom.
About a year after I was diagnosed and in the midst of a flare, I decided to reach out to others who suffer with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Instead of shamefully hiding my disease and dealing with it alone, I started talking about it. I joined forums, joined a support group, started a personal blog about managing Crohn’s disease as a newlywed, allowed my employer to post an article about my story to educate other employees, and participated in my first fundraiser Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis.
Currently, I am feeling the best I have felt in 3 years. My most recent colonoscopy showed positive results, some inactive Crohn’s ulcers with no inflammation. Although I still have this disease, I am thankful for a break.
The best decision I ever made concerning my illness was to speak out.  I have a wonderful support group of friends and family. I feel stronger and not defeated. A fellow Crohn’s friend taught me that I may have Crohn’s, but Crohn’s does not have me.

Rachel, husband Isaac, and Izzy
Thank you Rachel for your time and inspiration!

Worldwide, five million people live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, conditions collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Help us to raise awareness and join our fight against IBD. World IBD Day, led by patient organizations representing 36 countries on four continents, is officially celebrated on May 19.  Patient groups from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, 28 European nations, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the United States are working together to raise awareness of IBD.

World IBD Day creates an excellent opportunity for you to raise awareness & fundraise using social media as well as your personal contacts.  Change your profile pictures, add the logo and quick blurb to your emails, ask for people to make a donation in honor of this special day.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our co-founders Suzanne Rosenthal. Suzanne was a fearless, determined and courageous woman who turned her diagnosis of Crohn’s disease in 1955 into a legacy that has gone on to help hundreds of thousands of people over the years.  She dedicated her life to spreading awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, supporting and educating patients and funding research to find cures. In 1967, along with her husband, Irwin M. Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, MD, she founded the National Foundation of Ileitis and Colitis, now known as the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. 

As a patient, volunteer and activist, Suzanne was a tireless pioneer for patients living with IBD and other digestive diseases.  Her legacy continues through the many advocacy initiatives and patient support groups she established during her many years of service.  She dedicated her life to helping other patients, and she is personally responsible for the creation of the various CCFA chapters nationwide. There are no words to truly express our gratitude to Suzanne and all that she has done for the 1.4 million people who suffer from these diseases. CCFA will proudly continue on with her vision of raising awareness and finding cures for IBD.