The below post is written by Sarah Brocker, the IIF’s second Intense Intestines Scholarship winner.
I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old and missed 58 days of school that year. At that time, I did not understand the meaning of forever, but I did know that my symptoms were embarrassing and I did not want other people knowing about them. From that point on, I spent a lot of time trying to hide my disease. I did not look sick, so I was often able to pretend that I was not sick. However, as a high school junior, I had my first surgery and started my first biologic, Humira. After surgery I could no longer to pretend I wasn’t sick. When I returned to school, determined to finish the semester, I was astounded to find out that people thought my surgery was cool. I slowly started opening up about my disease, and as time passed, I began to share more and more with the people around me.
College has been extremely difficult for me. I have missed a lot of school and have had three more surgeries. While at school, I have tried Humira, Stellara, Cimizia, Tysabri, Methotrexate and Imuran, but unfortunately nothing has worked very well for me. Needless to say, staying in school is rough but very rewarding. The scholarship offered to me by the Intense Intestines Foundation has not only helped me pay for school but also given me some much-needed encouragement. It was as if they were saying, “We think you’ve done a great job, despite your Crohn’s, so keep it up!” It has given me something to fight for, to not only prove to myself I can do school, but to also show the world what someone with Crohn’s can accomplish. Receiving the scholarship has helped me see that even though I don’t live a normal life and that sometimes my life is extremely difficult, I still can reach for the stars and accomplish my goals!
This same idea of perseverance is represented through the videos shown on the Intense Intestines Foundation’s website. Many of the videos tell stories of IBD patients whom have overcome the obstacles placed in their lives by IBD. These videos provided me with hope; hope that if they can do it, I can do it! They are real people just like me, and I am a real person just like you. Even though everyone’s IBD case is different, we all have one thing in common: living with IBD is crap (pun intended)! We all have this difficult part of our lives that we have to live with, but that doesn’t mean that it will hold you back. I sometimes feel like I could accomplish so much if I didn’t have Crohn’s. However, when I step back and look at my life, I have already accomplished so much despite my disease. So just as receiving the scholarship inspired me and watching the videos inspired me, I hope that seeing my story helps inspire you to dream big, never give up, and NEVER STAY QUIET!
To make a donation to the Intense Intestines Foundation to help us continue our mission in helping as many Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and ostomy patients as possible, please click the link below.