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Inspiration for parent and child :)

Crohn's Mom

inspiration for parent and child :)

I just wanted to share (with the permission of my dear daughter) a bit of inspiration for you wonderful, caring and worried parents here. I know all to well the feeling of not knowing; the "what ifs", "will they?", "can they?" etc. I know the feeling of being scared that this horrible disease will take away our sweet child's feeling of normalcy in their life.
Gabrielle has just applied for a Crohn's scholarship this week, and has so graciously allowed me to share the essay she was required to write as part of the application process. She emailed it to me today and I was overcome with pride, and joy; Joy, that I finally have some insight as to how this disease has made her feel, and how she chose to overcome those feelings.
Please do enjoy the read and hopefully this will give you all hope and faith that, YES THEY CAN :)

Not Even Crohn’s Can Stop Me

When I was nine years old I was suspected to have Crohn’s Disease, and was diagnosed when I was seventeen. Since then I have always wondered what it was like to feel “normal”. When you tell people that you have Crohn’s they do not always understand. They think that just because you can’t see the effects it has on your body, it must not be that bad. What they don’t know is that sometimes that can be even worse.

I never really knew what was actually going on inside of my body, and by the time I did it was almost too late. When I was in 10th grade I was hospitalized for severe mono and viral hepatitis with jaundice. Since that hospitalization, I continued to feel extremely tired and was falling asleep in every class as well as sleeping all day when I came home until the next day I had to wake up. I ran a 99-degree fever or above everyday, all day for an entire year and always had stomach pains. I went to doctor after doctor and tried all kinds of medicine and no one knew what was wrong with me. I finally had a colonoscopy and other scans done where they realized it was more serious. They found a large mass in my right side along with fistulas and ulcers from my throat down. I went to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville where they saved my life. I consulted with an amazing gastroenterologist and general surgeon whom recommended that surgery might be my best bet. I decided that they were right and scheduled to have it done.

Everyday until March 21, 2011, the day of my surgery, was the most long and restless days of my life. I could not wait to have my surgery. My surgeon however did not know how bad it was until he opened me up. He was hoping to do the surgery laproscopically, but it ended up being open with a resection of about 4 and a half feet of my intestines and the placement of an emergency ileostomy. Waking up with that news was not easy to take in. But at least I was still alive and the ileostomy was not permanent. I had to wait another 9 months for my reversal. Dealing with the ileostomy was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Always having to change it, and deal with the allergic reaction I had everyday from the wafers, and worrying about who was going to see or hear it was extremely stressful and frustrating. But the support of my friends and family showed me that I could pull through it.

While I missed out on most of junior year and almost all of my senior year of high school, I continued to keep up my grades and excel in all of my advanced classes. I kept in contact with all my teachers and guidance counselor who helped me do the best I could. Even though I spent my whole life being sick and the past few months recovering from a major surgery, I managed to always keep a smile on my face and keep a positive outlook on my future. This attitude helped get me many awards and graduate with high honors, while also competing on my school tennis team in the number two position. Why should I stop being who I am and want to be for a disease that I can concur?

Many people thought I wasn’t going to be able to go to college my first year. But there was nothing I wanted more than to go away on my own and get my education. This would prove that I’m not going to let my disease stop me, and that it is possible to follow my dreams of becoming a colorectal surgeon, just like my surgeon who greatly inspired me. Now that I’m here it is the most incredible feeling in the world. I was able to make it to the University of South Florida, major in Pre-Med with a minor in Spanish, take 18 credit hours this semester, and participate in several clubs, including the prestigious Pre-Med AMSA club. I volunteer in any opportunity I can get, as well as volunteering in the O.R. at the Veteran’s Hospital every week. Every Monday I also wake up at 6:30 am to shadow and build a relationship with a remarkable plastic surgeon. I get to experience first hand what it is like to be a surgeon and all of the tasks and responsibilities that go along with it.

Now that I look back, my surgery and ileostomy was the best possible thing that could have ever happened to me. Going through the many years of being sick and the operations I had gave me insight and empathy for other people who go through the same thing or even worse. I want to show other people that it’s okay to feel put down by your disease, but you don’t have to let it take over your life. You can do what you have to do so you can fulfill your dreams and live your life. Crohn’s disease has only pushed me to work harder for what I want and gave me more motivation and inspiration than I ever could have asked for. This is going to help me get through any obstacle in the future, as well as the next 15 years of school and training.

This scholarship would tremendously impact my life in only a positive way. Not only will others have the chance to read about my story, but they will also be able to take something from it: hope. They will see that it is possible to push through and never settle for less than you deserve. Also, since I was not in school much I was unable to apply for many scholarships. I only received bright futures and had to take out loans to cover the rest of the cost. The money from this scholarship will be going to my education that is going to get me my medical license. It’s going to be going to someone who could not be more grateful for the life she has and what she can do to positively impact many other lives. You can never fully appreciate something until it’s almost taken away from you forever.


Staff member
OMG, that is beautiful! I am in tears! Tracy, I can't imagine how proud you must be to have such an amazing girl! She deserves the very best life can offer! :Karl: :rosette2:


Super Moderator
Oh T, I know I have said it before but I will say it again and again and again. Gabs is such and inspirational and amazing young lady. With her compassion, drive, determination and intelligence she will go far and she will realise her dreams.

Kudos to Gabs and to you T, what a team! and so very deserving. :)...:award2:

I wish her all the love and luck in the world...:goodluck:

Dusty. :heart:
Truley insprirational! for both crohn's suffers and thei parents. It has certainly helped me to read your daughters words. And I am sure she has a wonderful future ahead. I know you will be so proud of her strength, compassion for others, determination to follow her dreams.

best wishes,


To save time...Ask Dusty!
Beautiful T!! My daughters won't let me read their papers cause I tend to grade and revise! I just can't help it....nah, it's absolutely inspirational:) She's gonna go far mom:)
What a wonderful, strong and determined young lady. You must be so proud, not only of her, but of the wonderful job you did raising her!

Take care,
Wow That is some incredible essay. I will be praying for her that she gets the scholarship. It is truly inspirational!

Crohn's Mom

Thank you so much everyone :)
She really is such an amazing girl !

We will find out on June 12th if she has won the scholarship .. fingers crossed ! :)
That's a beautiful essay. How amazingly resilient our kids are... and for her to be able to articulate the positives of getting a chronic illness at a young age is inspiring. Good luck to her!!