Sunday, May 19, was World IBD Day, focusing 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 efforts.
Kenedi Wise, 14, is the 2019 Honored Hero for theTake Steps Columbus walk coming up in June. She 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 seeking out 10 new teams to match her goal.
Kenedi will be a freshman at McClain High School in Greenfield in Ross County this fall. She is living with ulcerative colitis, diagnosed a year ago, after she became severely rundown and dehydrated.
Her parents, Brian and Shira Wise, were increasingly alarmed about her weight loss and lethargy, knowing how active she normally is.
The one symptom that helped her doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital identify the problem was bleeding 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, a CCF Central Ohio Chapter Board member, said, “We’ve been really surprised. We’ve seen a large uptick in younger patients being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases.”
Strausbaugh said many more resources are now available to families coping with IBD through their local CCF chapters, “To connect with people on a deeper level, to really share that you’re not alone out there.”
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.
The 2.1-mile family walk is scheduled for June 22 at Coffman Park in Dublin. Registration begins at 4 p.m., followed by the 6 p.m. event. The goal this year is to raise more than $210.000 for medical research to find a cure for IBD.
For more information on IBD and available resources, the CCFA link is: https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/centralohio