July 12 - Today marks two years since Ulcerative Colitis finally caught up with my dad and took his life. The half-marathon is this Sunday and with just 3 days until the race we are only $500 away from $5,000. I know we can still make it! Thank you everyone for everything!
May 15 - We've broken the $2,000 mark! With some more help I know we can hit $5,000. Now is the time if you are considering donating. No donation is too small (really) and I appreciate everyone's support! I'm excited for the race, it's going to be here in no time!
April 1 - We're off to a great start this year and as of today we're at $1,475! In other news f2 Images of Milwaukee is selling their print "Unravelling" in support of the CCFA! They are donating 50% of all sales of this print to the CCFA. This is a great way to support the CCFA, local artists and acquire some beautiful photography. Check it out!
February 2012 - Almost 7 months ago I was participating in one of the most important events of my life, the 2011 Wine Country Half-Marathon in Napa, California. It was not my first half-marathon but certainly the most important and was undoubtedly a life changing experience. For the 4 months leading up to the race I reached out to friends, family, and complete strangers for help and they came through in a BIG way. When I first set the goal of raising for $3,800 for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America the task seemed impossible, but with a finishing fundraising total of $5,402 I was speechless. I never expected to experience the generosity and support that I did. After last year's experiences I felt like I needed to return to Team Challenge and do what I could again to help support the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Thank you so much to everyone that helped and encouraged me last year and to everyone that donated and I hope that we can once again make a positive difference this year! Below is a video that was made by Melissa of the Illinois Team who we met and spent time with in California. I wanted to share her experiences with the race and what it meant to her as someone that lives with Crohn's.
My mission is simple: raise $5,000 to help the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The CCFA is dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which together are known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. In order to reach this goal I need your help!
Over the last 4 decades, research has lead to many advances in the treatment of Crohn’s and Colitis, which has greatly improved the quality of life for millions of Americans living with an Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However, researchers are still looking for a cure. I chose to help the CCFA because of the impact it has had on my family. In the Summer of 2010, after fighting Ulcerative Colitis and its effects for over 50 years, my dad died from complications of this illness. Also, I want to help people in the same position as my sister who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 6 years ago and who, because of advances in treatments has had a very different experience than my dad. To show the importance of fighting Inflammatory Bowel Diseases I wanted to share my dad's and my sister's stories.
Two of Many
My dad, Cy, was born in 1946 in Chicago, Illinois to Rose and Morris Rosenthal. He is the middle of three children. At the age of 9 Cy was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Cy's childhood was filled with doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, and blood transfusions. He also spent much of this time collecting lead soldiers and Dinky Toys, avidly playing pony league baseball, organizing neighborhood jug bands, playing guitar, and listening to all types of music. After years of experimental treatments with few results, Cy's severe Colitis forced him to undergo surgery and have a total colectomy in his early 20's. A total colectomy consists of completely removing the colon (large intestine) and at the time of the surgery this meant leaving the patient with a colostomy, which Cy had for the rest of his life.
The colectomy set Cy free from constant treatment and allowed him to move to Tucson Arizona, where he spent many happy years playing old time music, camping and where he met his wife, and my mom, Deborah. During this time, and for the next 40 years, Cy would only have occasional medical problems, mostly surrounding uncontrolled bleeding around his stoma. He was able to live his life; having two children, moving to South Dakota and then Sturgeon Bay, where he spent his last 25 years as a respected part of the mental health and music communities. In 2009 Cy once again started to become very sick. An all-too-familiar routine of doctor visits and trips to specialists ensued. Trips were made to Milwaukee and the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis. But this time there were too many complications. In addition to his ostomy, and adult-onset diabetes, Cy began to struggle with Hepatitis C, which he had picked up from one of his many blood transfusions and which had been inactive for many years.
On July 12, 2010, after a weekend in Minneapolis having tests done and enjoying a St. Paul Saints minor league baseball game with his daughter, Cy returned to Sturgeon Bay exhausted. That evening he went to bed and did not wake up. Two days after Cy's death test results showed that his liver had severely deteriorated and was most likely what had caused him to become sick again. Colitis had a huge effect on Cy's life, but it did not define him. He was committed to his family and left a lasting impact on his community through the creation of the Door County Folk Alliance. Cy's motto throughout his life was, "You can't beat fun for a good time".
My sister, Emma, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at Christmas time in 2005 after several months of dealing with an unexplained sickness. She was 22 at the time, had just graduated from Macalester College and was doing a year of AmeriCorps service in St. Paul, MN. For three years Emma struggled to manage the severe Colitis. She experienced some periods of remission due to advances in the types of medications and treatments available. But, in 2008, after 6 months of severe illness, the decision was made to have a total colectomy like my dad. However, there were some differences.
Emma underwent a series of surgeries to remove her colon, but unlike my dad, she was not left with a colostomy. Due to advances thanks to research she has a J Pouch which is essentially a natural, internal reservoir, which acts somewhat like a colon and eliminates the need for a colostomy.
Since her last surgery Emma has been doing extremely well. Over the last three years she has continued to create a life for herself in Minneapolis. In 2010 she completed her Masters in Social Work and has entered the field of mental health, just like my dad. Emma is expected to live a long, healthy, and normal life.
My name is Noah and I live just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I work as a photo-retoucher and freelance webdesigner. You can find my personal site at NoahRosenthal.com. I have been running for almost 4 years now and originally started running for myself as a way to stay healthy and challenge myself. After my dad died I decided I wanted to use running as a tool to help other people, in particular people with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. That's why I joined Team Challenge in support of the CCFA.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that has supported me through all of this and of course to those who have donated to this effort. I couldn't do any of this without help and support from my friends, family, and complete strangers. If you have any questions, comments, big ideas, or would like to say hi, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!