$13 on the 13th for 13.1

For the next 12 days, I’m focused on fundraising and awareness-raising for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m currently at 50% of the way to my goal of raising $7000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the leading organization that funds research for better treatments and cures for Crohn’s and colitis. I’m asking for $13 donations in honor of the 13.1 miles I will run with my teammates (decked out in my Team Challenge gear and ready to talk about IBD) on July 20, 2014, in Napa, CA. That’s a pledge of $1 per mile. If you’d like to make a donation, here’s the link: http://online.ccfa.org/rachelbabcock

IBD week day 1

But why donate? What’s so special about this cause?

For me, it’s special because it’s personal. My best friend, Aunt and I ALL have Crohn’s disease. PLUS, since joining Team Challenge I’ve made over a dozen friends with these diseases and numerous friends who care for IBD patients.

This cause is special because it’s probably personal for you, too. Nearly one and a half million people in the US have Crohn’s or colitis, you probably have a friend or family member with one of theses diseases, whether you know it or not. A lot of people really hate talking about this disease (I mean, who can blame them, since so much of it has to do with how much time we spend in the bathroom) and hide the disease even from their closest friends.

Here are 13 things that people you know with Crohn’s or colitis might be dealing with RIGHT NOW:

1: Dietary restrictions. Restrictions for IBD patients could be just about anything from no leafy greens to gluten free to liquids only to IV nutrition. Symptoms and sensitivities present differently in each patient and there is no single diet that will work for every IBD patient, or even any single patient for their entire life.

2: Fatigue. When you have IBD it can be tough to get out of bed in the morning or make it through the whole day without feeling completely exhausted. There are many potential culprits of fatigue including vitamin deficiency, anemia, blood loss, and medication side effects.

3: Fever. With chronic inflammation can come chronic fevers. (These were a major symptom for me leading up to diagnosis, I would go through my normal activities regularly with 101 degree fevers.)

4: Pain.  Abdominal pain is common to all IBD patient’s, but many patients also suffer from joint pain and muscle aches too – it’s not all in the digestive tract.

5: Diarrhea. Many patients are in and out of the bathroom constantly, especially during a flare.

6: Constipation. Some patient’s suffer more from slow digestion than diarrhea, everyone is different.

7: Nausea. Another very common complaint of IBD patients.

8: Fear. This is a big one. Many patients have a lot of fears including (but not limited to) being far away from a bathroom, medical procedures like colonoscopies and surgeries, or not knowing when the next flare will come.

9: Medications and their side effects. This deserves a whole series of blog posts, but suffice it to say that IBD medications are heavy duty and many of them come with a long list of side effects that can be as difficult to deal with as the disease itself.

10: Inability to participate in favorite activities. Chronic fatigue, chronic diarrhea/constipation/nausea, chronic pain, etc., all lead to many days and nights spent missing out on favorite activities like picnics, exercise, parties, hikes, dates, trips to the beach, or whatever people love to do.

11: Vitamin deficiency. When you have IBD, large sections of the digestive tract are often inflamed and studded with ulcers, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb essential nutrients.

12: Bloody stool. This is often one of the first, frightening symptoms patient’s notice before diagnosis and also one of the symptoms that scares people so much they don’t seek treatment right away.

13: Weight loss. If you’ve got abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constant nausea, and absorption issues, it’s really easy to lose weight quickly.

Thanks for reading, and if you can, I hope you’ll donate $13 today, via my CCFA fundraiser here: http://online.ccfa.org/rachelbabcock

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