My Story: One Teen's Snowboarding Dreams Almost Derailed

At only 11 years old, Jacob was a nationally ranked snowboarder and an Olympic hopeful. But the night before a championship, his right tibia and fibula shattered. He was told he would never snowboard again.

It felt like the end of the world – but it wasn’t. It was Crohn’s disease. 

Many people are familiar with the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with Crohn’s – but it affects children’s bodies in other ways too. IBD can actually prevent growing bones from absorbing all the nutrients they need, resulting in weak and brittle bones that break easily. This is what happened to Jacob.

Jacob and his family never suspected he had Crohn’s disease – he wasn’t diagnosed until after his leg had healed. Then, at 14, more obvious symptoms appeared and he was plagued with chronic diarrhea and severe weight loss. For the moment, Jacob is in remission and doing great. But he knows there’s a good chance it won’t last. “This medicine isn’t going to work forever… ," he said.

Research shows that it’s not uncommon for kids with Crohn’s disease to have weaker muscles and bones. In fact, as many as 40 percent of kids with Crohn’s disease have some growth impairment.

This is just one more burden for kids with IBD.  But with the support of generous friends like you, CCFA is helping researchers look for solutions. You can support CCFA and keep our vital research going – so kids like Jacob can have better therapies and eventually, cures.

The only thing extraordinary about Jacob’s life should be his incredible snowboarding skills – not his Crohn’s disease.