it takes guts

I woke up this morning with this distinct feeling that I forgot something. I didn’t get to read my speech exactly like I wrote it, and I feel like I may have left a few things out. So I’ve decided to write it out here, with a few additions, some great pictures and the big news!

I was asked a couple weeks ago if this was a passion of mine.

This being hosting fundraisers.
This being volunteering with both the Take Steps and Team Challenge events throughout the state.


I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease almost four years ago.

I was on medications for three years that helped me feel the best that I had felt in a long time.

This past April, I had to stop one of the medications because we thought I was having an immune reaction.


A blessing in disguise, I suppose I am off that harsh medication and I’ve been able to manage my symptoms with the help of natural remedies.

But that reaction that I had, well it’s still here. No doctor seems to know why. Or what it is. Or how it can go away. And next week I finally see a specialist, which I have been waiting four months to see.

I can only hope she might have some answers.


There are 1.6 million Americans that are affected with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases including Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

I am not alone.

And that brings me to my answer. Yes, this is a huge passion of mine.

I don’t just spend many hours in the doctors office or take many trips to get blood work done. I don’t just drive 45 minutes to see my Naturopath and get acupuncture treatments. It’s not just about the insane amount of medical bills I have to pay just to feel healthy.


I stand here in front of you today, because of the group of people I first met when I was diagnosed. And I haven’t looked back.

I found the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, better known as the CCFA, six months after I was diagnosed. Four months after that I crossed the finish line running my first half marathon raising over $5,000 for the CCFA.

Through that experience I met people who knew the frustrations of the disease. Who understood that every symptom doesn’t make sense. And some answers are harder to find than others.


When I tell people Crohn’s disease changed my life, it isn’t because there is a disease running through my intestines. It is because of the people I have met along the way.

I found comfort in my fellow patients.
I found strength I didn’t know I had within myself.
And every day I am determined to find answers. To find cures. For all of us to feel better.

Thank you for Stony Creek Brewery for having us.
Thank you to Ryan and Assaggio for the delicious food.
Thank you to Tracey Jo & the Toads for the wonderful music.

Thank you all for being here. I know some of you I have just met for the first time. Others I have known my entire life. Some of you are my best friends, who know more about my complaints than you probably deserve.

Thank you to my brother who consistently inspires me and was unable to make it today because he just happen to move to London yesterday.

And to my parents… who help me in more ways than I could ever put into words.

And Mom, I am so impressed that you are taking on your first half marathon next year. I know you can do it. My only advice, is don’t cry your brains out like I did. They don’t make for pretty pictures to look back on!

Thank you all.

The event raised just over $2,000 and with additional donations from those that could not make it, I am soooo pleased to say just over $4,500 dollars which will go to fund research to find cures for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

I am truly blessed, thank you for supporting my passion.


proud sister moments

Two weeks ago I spent the night in Boston. Steven and I had a lovely dinner. Then we ventured to a quaint little bar off Boylston. I stood surrounded by friends of my brother’s through various channels of his life. Some friends I met before, others I was meeting for the first time. All of us there for the same reason, to send Steven off on his next big adventure.

Last weekend I spent the weekend with my family, in the home we grew up in for the last twelve years. We enjoyed homemade meals and played with the dog. We have a few cocktails, some great laughs and talked about what the future might bring.

Tomorrow, my brother moves to London.

While I do not often get a chance to visit my brother. And while we hardly ever talk on the phone. And most of our communication is through 10-second images on Snapchat. I will miss Steven being just over two hours away. I will miss having him in the same time zone. And if Snapchat doesn’t work internationally, we are going to have some serious problems.

But more than that. I am so proud of Steven. Proud of the person he has become. He is distinguished and well suited for city life. He is genuine, hard working and even though he tends to be a man of very few words, he often gives some of the best advice when the situations are extra tricky.

I wish you the most exciting adventure of your life, Steven. And, I’m coming to visit. ASAP!!


when you’re body literally stops you, listen

I am not quite feeling myself. On Saturday night I couldn’t stand up without throwing up. I know, too many details. And no, there was not a single sip of alcohol involved. It was ugly, not fun and I don’t think I moved from the couch for an entire 36 hours.

Listening to our bodies is something others might not understand as well as Crohn’s patients. This is potentially because as a Crohn’s patient, sometimes our bodies scream a little louder than others. Perhaps this is simply because we are more sensitive to what our bodies are saying.

It made me think about what I’m putting into my body and how it’s making my body feel. Nearly four years ago when I was first diagnosed and in an great amount of discomfort I didn’t think about what I put into my body. I just thought about how quickly it would make me feel better.

This doesn’t just apply to medications, it’s foods and supplements and beverages.

While it may seem that my rambling makes no sense so far… I promise I’m getting to the point.

I was a shy girl, always. Growing up I never raised my hand in class. I had boys tease me in school for being mute. I was incredibly self conscious of my surroundings, what I wore and how I acted. It didn’t seem unnatural, it was just who I thought I was.

There are things I would never change. I am the young woman I am today because of the heartbreaks, the aches and pains and the multitude of doctors appointments.

And on Saturday, I actually felt the change.

I stood on a stage in front of a microphone. I spoke as the Master of Ceremony for the Take Steps Rhode Island walk.


Hands down I would have NEVER agreed to such a title four years ago. Hands down four years ago I would have NEVER predicted I would ever accept such a title.

I walked up to the microphone, thinking I hadn’t even been nervous, and my knees started to shake immediately. As I spoke I looked into a crowd of people from those who were newly diagnosed to those that have been living with the disease for decades. I saw friends and family who were there to support these patients. I saw volunteers who were there just for the day to help. A united group gathered for one purpose. To raise awareness for a cause that was so close to all of our hearts. Although I would be remiss to mention that we were also there to fundraise to fuel research to find this cure that someday we will find.


This was my second year attending the Take Steps walk in Rhode Island. I was a volunteer last year and just like this year I woke up at a very early 5:30am for a Saturday morning and drove to Rhode Island. Last year, I was introduced to Beth. A quick hello and Facebook friend request later, we have been connected ever since.

It was my privilege to introduce Beth on stage at this year’s walk as the Adult Honored Hero. And it reminded me why I love this community so much.


One small introduction becomes a lifelong friend.

A friend that understands things that no one else does. Not that we aren’t surrounded by loved ones who care unconditionally for our well-being, but these friends are fellow patients and we understand without words. And that connection is something that is instant.

I came home from this high, and my body crashed. A sign you should never take a moment for granted. Never assume a new drug will work better than an old one. Never assume that since you are feeling great, you will never not feel great again.

That is the reason I volunteer. That is the reason ever since I sat in my first Team Challenge meeting back in August of 2012, and I agreed without hesitation to run a half marathon having never run more than a 5K. I knew instantly I had found my community.

In those three years I have found myself. I found this woman who no longer accepts the answer “this will help with your symptoms”. I found the person who no longer accepts that 36 hours on the couch is an acceptable way to spend the weekend.

I fight because we all deserve to feel good. We all have the right to follow the dreams we want to follow. And I won’t give up fighting until we all have the opportunity to feel good.

I am running with Team Challenge Lite (to clarify I am running a 5K, not quite ready to jump back into half marathons) in three weeks. Even if I don’t run fast and even if I have to walk, there is a patient out there that sits in a hospital. I walk with Take Steps because there is a patient out there that needs to meet other patients who feel just like they do.

I am again hosting a fundraiser this Fall on November 8 (details to follow), because I believe there is a cure out there and we need the research to find it. I believe that at thirty years old I shouldn’t be asked if I’m a nurse because I have so much medical knowledge, I shouldn’t have to explain to a date why my doctor visits shouldn’t be a concern to our future dates, and I shouldn’t have to take so much time off because I have so many appointments. It’s just not the way life should be.

This year is extra special because not only am I raising money for a cause I believe in, but one lady that I believe in more than anymore… my mom… will be running her first half marathon with Team Challenge in February and I am beyond thrilled to see her take on this challenge!

Mom and I - November 11, 2012

I know we all have causes that are close to our hearts, this is mine.

Oh, and one more thing… we all have the potential to be anything we want to be. There is the potential to find anything, anyone sets their mind to. NEVER think it’s NEVER going to happen.

the running shoes are back…

I have not run a race since March 2014. To be honest, that may have been the last time I really put my running sneakers on.

Granted, I haven’t been sitting on my couch doing nothing for the past year and a half. I have put sneakers on. I walk. I walk with Mom. I walk with Lexi. I stand and watch (cheer on!) other people running. But I have not gone out running.

My second half marathon was in June 2013 and it kind of kicked my butt. Instead of attending the infamous Second City in Chicago, with not only my teammates but my best friend who came to cheer me on, I lay in bed clenching my head to stop the throbbing. I had the worst migraine. I beat some 27 minutes off my half marathon time but that didn’t seem to matter when I could barely move, I couldn’t eat and I needed complete silent darkness.

Not to mention I had this growing pain in, what I thought was, my IT band and I decided that running and I need to slow down.

I had dreams of running a sub 30-minute 5K before my 30th birthday and I focused on that. I tried to sign up for one race a month and for six months or so I was actually doing pretty well. My best time was just over 32 minutes and I had just under a year to kick 2 minutes off my time – no big deal.

But my IT band has different opinions. Or my SI joint. Jury is still out as to what is actually bothering me. But something from my butt to my knee hurt.

I’ve seen a massage therapist, a chiropractor. I’ve had cortisone shorts and ultrasounds. I took time off from running. I tried yoga. Yet, no one has any real good reason why it hurts or what I can do to make it feel better.

It’s a pain that is there every day. I’ve almost become used to the pain that I don’t even acknowledge it’s there.

Ironically, when I decide that I’m ready to lace up my running sneakers again… my IT band/SI joint/pain in my ass (literally!) hurts more than ever.

But a little pain never stopped me before. And I’m not going to let it stop me now!

So, I signed up for a race. With my FAVORITE people!

While I have considered myself to be a part of the TC CT family for over a year now. (I have volunteered for three seasons and even held a part time co-manager job this Spring.) This is the first time I am officially, and very proudly, a participant for Team Challenge Connecticut!!

I started this blog back in 2012 when I first started running, I’m happy to lead this blog back to running!

Join me on this journey as I get back to where I feel my best. My healthiest. With my favorite extended family.