On October 23, 2016, I will be running the Newburyport Half Marathon. I am asking my friends, family, and anyone else who might be so inclined to help me raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (aka the CCFA). I have never done anything like this before, either the running or the fundraising, so I am pretty nervous about it. So if you could help me out with a donation and/or some words of encouragement, I would be really appreciative.
I want to tell you my story and why I’ve chosen to run this race. As you may or may not know, my wife Julie has suffered from Crohn’s disease and/or ulcerative colitis (collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease of IBD) since before I ever knew her. Julie is kind, funny, giving, caring, whip smart, and the most thoughtful person I know. She is also one of the hardest working people I have ever met. But Crohn’s and UC aren’t easy diseases to deal with, and they often lay her low. She had major surgery when she was 21 and has had regular doctor’s visits ever since.
She’ll run out of energy out of no where, be stopped in her tracks by pain, or be unable to function seconds after feeling okay. She takes innumberable medications, including weekly shots at home and regular visits to the hospital for drug infusions. Julie is also really tough, both mentally and physically, but the combination of pain, fatigue, and other symptoms really take their toll. It is incredibly hard to have to watch her go through it. I try to help out as much as I can, but there really isn’t anything I can do about the condition itself. To say it can be frustrating or even maddening would be a serious understatement.
But I know who I married — like I said, Julie is supremely tough, she hates to lose, and she hates to give up. The fact of the matter is she has no choice but to fight every single moment of every single day. She doesn’t settle for good enough either — she is always fighting for more, for a better life, for one more activity, for one more hour on her feet or out of bed. But when you’re sick, when you have Crohn’s or UC, sometimes you can’t fight for yourself anymore, and (to paraphrase the late Stuart Scott of ESPN, who died of cancer a few years ago), when you are sick and you find that you are too tired to fight, go lay down and let someone else fight for you. So that’s what I’m trying to do — take my fight for Julie and other IBD patients to another level. I will never stop fighting for Julie on a daily basis even though I don’t think I can ever fight as hard as she does for herself, but I wanted to do something more to raise awareness and make a realy difference. Because the doctors, scientists, and researchers will only be able to find a cure to this “cruel and devious” disease unless people raise money to fund their research.
So please, donate a few dollars to help me try and put an end to Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. I will be ever thankful for whatever contributions you might provide.
For further reading, I recommend this article by Joe Posnanski, a writer for NBC Sports who covered the Olympics this past August: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/joe-posnanski-kathleen-bakers-crohns-disease-isnt-curse — Posnanski has been open about his daughter’s recent diagnosis with Crohn’s and became close with Kathleen Baker, a multiple-Olympic medal winner for the USA in Rio. The article is touching and occassionally difficult to read, but he says a lot of things better than I ever could (I stole the description of Crohn’s as “cruel and devious” from him).
I also think you should read the description of Crohn’s and UC below, which was given to me by the CCFA when I set up this page:
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 1.6 million Americans. These chronic diseases tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and may affect any part from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.
The Mission of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is: To cure and prevent Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through research, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these digestive diseases through education and support.
Again, to anyone and everyone who can and does contribute, thank you so, so much from the bottom of my heart. I am going to train hard and run the best race that I can on October 23, 2016, and it would be great to know that I was bringing a lot of my family and friends along for the ride.
Tom (Julie’s husband)
How to contribute: http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/TeamChallenge/Chapter-NewEngland?px=1591715&pg=personal&fr_id=6380