After a very eventful year off due to an unfortunate injury and a fantastic wedding, I am now finally ready to take on a brand new challenge. On April 17, 2017, I will be running in the Boston Marathon! This will be my first attempt at a full marathon after completing nine half marathons over the past few years, and I will be doing it over perhaps the most storied course in the world. I could not be more excited! In order to take part through the John Hancock employee training program, we are required to do charitable fundraising. Of course I decided to use this opportunity to once again make a difference in the fight against Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. For my last six half marathons, many other smaller races along the way, and for life in general, my biggest cheerleader has been my wife, Shayna. She has been battling Ulcerative Colitis since she was 18 years old. In the last 4+ years, I have seen the kind of toll this disease takes on a person both physically and emotionally. She is extremely strong and fights each day to try and live a normal life, but many times it just isn't possible. This cause was already very important to me, but it became even more so on June 26th when we tied the knot down in Captiva, Florida!
Since the beginning of 2014, Shayna has endured two major surgeries, a couple more minor ones, a lengthy and frustrating hospital stay before all of that, and several months spent on disability because she was unable to work. She was eventually able to return to her second graders, but the combination of recurring symptoms and medications still often leave her extremely fatigued and/or in great pain at the end of the day. Working full time is something that can be very difficult for Shayna due to all these side effects. She feels extremely guilty anytime she has to be out of work, but somewhere along the way I was able to convince her that she needs to make sure she is taking care of herself first.
While work has been managable, personal time can be a different story. The pain and fatigue that I mentioned earlier can be so great at the end of the day that Shayna is asleep before we even get to dinner. It often carries over into the weekend as well, so occasionally plans have been cut short or cancelled because she just didn’t feel well enough. It means a little more work for me at times, and her mom has been great about helping us both out in whatever ways she can. But again, Shayna feels guilty for relying on us and other family and friends to do so much. Not only would she rather be doing things for herself, but she would be going above and beyond for us if she had her way. Shayna is one of the most caring and giving people I have ever met, and that is why we all do what we do for her. We all want her to feel healthy and to beat this disease.
Shayna has been progressing with a new medication that she started late in 2014, but it is not a cure and that is why I have decided to team up once again with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, CCFA. This will be a big undertaking, but it will all be worth it because your donations will not only motivate me to run hard and reach that finish line on Boylston Street, but they will help us get closer to a cure. If you would consider a donation to our cause, Shayna and I would be extremely grateful. Thank you so much for your support.
If you would like even more information on what it is like to live with this disease, or support someone who does, I encourage you to read our shared blog. (Actually, we recently changed hosts and lost some content, but we are working to get it back up again soon!) We started it to chronicle one of her recent surgeries in 2014, continued it for our first fundraising race for CCFA, and will be updating it over the coming weeks as we progress through training, fundraising, and life in general.
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.