Prior to my ostomy surgery 2 years ago, I was not very involved in the IBD world. Sure, I would donate to the CCFA every now and then, or I might attend some informational event about Crohn’s disease, but I usually kept my distance. I don’t know exactly what it was when I found out I was going to have surgery, but I suddenly had this need to be a part of something. I had to find other people who had been going through the same thing. I volunteered about two days before the Take Steps Walk in 2012, which was just a week before my surgery. I was so sick that I was hardly any help, but I liked being out there with that crowd.
Around that time, I started The Stolen Colon and started being an active part of the Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis community. At the end of that year, I signed on to be a part of the planning committee for the Take Steps Walk the following year. So just last week I participated in my second walk as a member of that committee. And let me tell you… It’s a lot of work!
There is so much that goes into an event like this. The walk here in North Carolina brings in about 700 people each year, and we have to make sure to entertain, feed and keep safe all of these people. At the same time, we’re working hard to get sponsors and donors to raise funds to help find a cure for IBD. Because that’s really what it’s all about.
It has been a rewarding experience being a part of the walk. I have met some really amazing and inspiring people and have made some good friends out of it. Plus, it feels really good to know that I am working hard to help in the fight against IBD. I appreciate the platform I have here to speak about Crohn’s disease and to raise awareness, but it’s so important to raise that money, too. So really great research is coming out of the CCFA and I am excited to see where it goes from here.
This year’s walk was on a beautiful Saturday this year. I’m thankful for the nice weather. We had a big crowd out there and it is nice to see so many faces, from so many different backgrounds, working together towards a common goal. I tend to manage the ‘run of show’ for the event, making sure all of our speakers have what they need and are where they are supposed to be. Basically it means that I am running around like a crazy person all day long. I wish I had been tracking my mileage, because I bet I got in some distance that day just running from point to point. (And you can ask anyone, I was definitely running everywhere.)
There were weeks and months of planning put into the walk and, all in all, it turned out to be a great event. There were a few hiccups along the way, I don’t think anyone expects these sorts of things to go off without any hitch, but thankfully none of them were major or ruined the integrity of the day. In the end, we raised over $100,000 to help find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis!
I hope to be able to continue to be a part of this group. It has been a great experience, even when the amount of work that needs to go into it keeps piling up, it’s always worth it in the end to see the faces of the people and kids living with IBD and seeing the money being raised and know that you helped make that happen. That’s a good feeling.