(You can read more about Jo Lynn and her daughter under our Mom’s section)
HI All, I have decided to get off the sidelines and do something tangible to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people and especially for my own daughter. I have committed to walk/run a half marathon (13.1 miles) with Team Challenge for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in honor of my daughter Lauren to raise funds and awareness of these conditions. I have a weekly training schedule in addition to weekend runs and clinics with the team. The Virginia Half Marathon is June 2, 2012.
As most of you know, my daughter Lauren was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2005 when she was 14. Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that is a painful, medically incurable illness that attacks the digestive system. Crohn’s symptoms can be isolating and alienating. It is not something that is discussed easily with those who are not familiar with the condition. Following a 4 year remission, Lauren flared in the spring of her 1st year at UGA. For the past 2 years, she has battled anemia in addition to the daily Crohn’s challenges. She has tried multiple treatment options with side effects that are sometimes worse than her Crohn’s symptoms. Excessive fatigue, daily pain, and other personal inconveniences are the routine background noise of Lauren’s everyday life, but if you know her, I strongly suspect that you have no idea that anything is wrong. Her bright smile and easy laughter rarely, if ever, waiver and she has never stopped singing to herself J Her positive outlook and never quit attitude inspires me. She is now pursuing an off-label treatment option from a new research study that so far is giving her excellent results. FINGERS CROSSED that she will achieve complete remission again.
For years I have encouraged, prayed, supported, prayed, researched, prayed, and been the most supportive mom I know how to be and while I know that all helps, I cannot fight my daughter’s battle. I am powerless to control her condition, but I know and am grateful that Lauren is one of the lucky ones. I recently met a 7 year old that has already endured multiple hospitalizations and surgeries whose one desire is to go to school every day like other 7 year olds. My heart breaks for that child and I know the terror in his parents’ hearts as they take one day at a time. New treatment options now – and one day a cure – are possible. For the immediate future, I will be happy and grateful for more treatment options, but that requires research and funding and an awareness of the need.
So, I am actively engaging in this fight and putting on my running shoes to do something tangible to make new treatments a reality and not a wish or a prayer. I am not a spring chicken and have never run a day in my life. My longest recent walk is probably a couple of miles at the leisurely “sniff/smell/visit everyone who passes by” pace of our 12 pound dog – so this should be really interesting. But, if my daughter is brave enough to live her life without limitations and without complaint, I can be committed and focused and challenge myself to take one step at a time and cross the finish line – -hopefully on the same day I start J
I need your help. I have committed to raising $2500 for research and support. I hope that you will join this fight and help me help Lauren and the 1.4 million like her. I Even the smallest amount will help. Good thoughts, positive vibes, and prayers are also welcomed. You can make your tax-deductible donation online on my fundraising webpage by clicking here, http://www.active.com/donate/virginia12georgia/VA12JWord My personal fundraising deadline is April 2, 2012.
With gratitude and appreciation,
Jo Lynn Word, 404-644-7975