Sunday, May 19, is World IBD Day, which focuses attention on the more than 10 million people globally who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, according to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).
Sera Koulabdara, Executive Director of the CCF Central Ohio chapter, said that between 1.6 and 3.1 million Americans suffer from IBD, including about 30.000 people in central Ohio.
The Central Ohio CCF recognizes Honored Heroes in the community who raise awareness of these debilitating digestive diseases through their volunteer outreach efforts.
Kenedi Wise, 14, the 2019 Honored Hero for Take Steps Walk, is the first award recipient to put out an “Honored Hero Challenge,” with the goal of raising at least $2,500 to fund research to find a cure. She is currently seeeking out 10 new teams to match her goal.
Kenedi will be a freshman at McClain High School in Greenfield, Ross County, this fall. She is living with ulcerative colitis, which was diagnosed a year ago, after becoming severely rundown and dehydrated.
A year ago, her parents, Brian and Shira Wise, decided Kenedi needed to be seen by doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, after nearly two weeks of what they thought was the flu, but was clearly something chronic.
The one symptom that helped her doctors identify the problem was bleeding from the intestinal tract, from what were determined to be ulcerations in her colon.
Each patient has different experiences with IBD, depending on the location and severity of the symptoms. More than half of those diagnosed will eventually undergo one or mutlple surgeries due to bleeding or for strictures that often cause intestinal obstructions.
Sarah Strausbaugh, Board member, with the Central Ohio chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, said, “We’ve been really surprised. We’ve seen a large uptick in younger patients being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases.
Strausbaugh said the importance of World IBD Day and local CCF chapters is “To connect with people on a deeper level, to really share that you’re not alone out there.”
The Central Ohio CCFA chapter holds its annual Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis at Coffman Park in Dublin every June, bringing thousands of families affected by IBD together to raise awareness about these incurable autoimmune gastrointestinal illnesses.
Medical experts have noticed an increase in the number of pediatric cases, including nearly 800 youngsters under the care of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
On Saturday, June 22, Take Steps Columbus 2019 will start at 4 p.m. The 2.1-mile family walk will happen at 6 p.m. The goal is to raise more than $210.000 for medical research in search of a cure for IBD.
For more information on IBD and available resources, the CCFA link is: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/centralohio