Categorized | News

Sarah Gregory joins Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

The Gregorys

Cathy Gregory and Sarah Gregory took part in the 2014 Gutsy Walk in Lethbridge in support of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Sarah Gregory is fund-raising for the 2015 Gutsy Walk.

Sarah Gregory knows first-hand that it takes courage to live life to the fullest while dealing with a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease has shaped the 19-year-old’s life — even influencing her career aspirations — but she has never let it hold her back.
“Living with Crohn’s can be hard,” Gregory said. “It’s exhausting, and some days it’s hard to have a positive outlook. But looking back, this disease has made me stronger, and has helped me take advantage and treasure the good days. It’s especially important to me that I accept that Crohn’s is a unique part of who I am, and I have to embrace it for all it’s worth.”
Embracing the disease includes fund-raising for the Gutsy Walk on Sunday, June 7 in support of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.
“By asking for donations I am not only raising money to find a cure, but I am also spreading awareness of the disease which is the most important goal right now,” Gregory said. “If more people could be understanding of the disease it would make a lot of public social situations easier.”
Named for the doctor who first described the disease in 1932, Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.
People with Crohn’s disease experience loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy and fatigue.
Gregory was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of seven, when she was underweight and sick.
“I remember it being hard to hear, especially for the rest of my family,” Gregory said. “But it was also relieving to finally know what was causing me to be sick so we could start working towards getting me healthier.”
And get healthier she did, when doctors put Gregory on a medication that put her on the road to recovery.
The medication worked for a time, but when she was 13 years old Gregory became sick again.
“As soon as you get comfortable with one treatment, things seems to stop working,” Gregory said of one of the frustrations of dealing with the illness.
Doctors tried several medications and put Gregory through a battery of tests before changing her diagnosis to Crohn’s disease.
Gregory was put on the intravenous medication Remicade, which kept her healthy through junior and senior high school and into her university career.
Gregory played basketball and rugby and led an active lifestyle while in school, thanks in part to support from her mother Cathy, father Doug and brother Logan.
“One of the biggest challenges of having Crohn’s is the fear of missing out on events,” Gregory said. “There are times when you just need to listen to your body and relax for a day, even if that means missing something you’ve been planning for months. Having supportive friends and family is a huge help with this challenge.”
“The most encouraging people through this experience have been my parents and my brother. They are always there to listen and have been there every step of the way.”
Her body has built up antibodies to Remicade, however, and Gregory is once again in need of a new medication.
“My doctor is looking into a newly released medication as well as a clinical trial to help bring me back into remission,” Gregory said.
Gregory graduated from F.P. Walshe school in 2013 and entered the University of Lethbridge that fall, where she has studied biochemistry and public health.
While at university, Gregory worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor at Max Bell Aquatic Centre.
Gregory plans to enroll in the nursing program in the fall of 2015 — inspired by her own experiences with Crohn’s disease.
“Having Crohn’s has inspired me to go into the health care field and give back to others, just as the nurses did for me throughout my whole life,” Gregory explained. “I hope to pursue a career in pediatric health care. I am so appreciative of the kind nurses who took care of me, and I hope I can do the same for someone else’s family.”
Gregory has participated several times in the Gutsy Walk, which is held each year at more than 60 locations in Canada, but this year decided to take a more active role with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.
Gregory became the public relations captain for foundation’s Lethbridge chapter, managing social media pages to spread stories and awareness.
“It has felt amazing to become more involved and connect with other people who have Crohn’s and colitis,” Gregory said.
Money raised through the Gutsy Walk at Henderson Lake Park will go to research into new medications.
“This is extremely important, as it will lead to less surgery and less pain,” Gregory said. “There is a new and exciting drug that has just been released in Canada for colitis that is giving many people hope for a better life. The Foothills Hospital in Calgary is home to one of the best gastrointestinal teams in the world, and much of the money is used there.”
Anyone who would like to support Sarah Gregory in the Gutsy Walk can contact her at sarah.gregs7@gmail.com or visit www.crohnsandcolitiscanada.akaraisin.com/gutsywalk2015/sarahsupporters.

Comments are closed.