We've joined Team Challenge and we need your help! We will complete the "Michelob Ultra Chicago 13.1" Half Marathon on June 7th to raise funds and awareness for research leading to improved treatment options and a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. This is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. Please take a few minutes to read our stories and learn more.
As a little girl I began experiencing abdominal pain and a whole host of digestive symptoms. When I was 8 my doctors told me that a disease called Ulcerative Colitis (UC) was the cause. Nobody knew exactly what had caused this disease, only that the lining of my colon was being attacked, essentially eaten from the inside. When we exhausted the available treatments in less than two years my doctors told my parents their best option was to remove my entire colon. Removal meant I’d have to have a colostomy bag for at minimum a few months, but potentially forever. If you don’t know what this is, google it – a scary prospect for anyone, especially for a swimmer. Thankfully, even though I spent most of my fourth grade year in the hospital, the surgery was successful and the colostomy only lasted for three months.
::whew:: I counted my blessings. UC stays in the colon so its removal meant the disease was technically no longer present. However, following this I battled frequent infections as well as bowel obstructions in my small intestine as it tried to step up and cover for my missing colon. I had 12 hospital stays before graduating from high school, each about one week long, including one while on an exchange trip to Costa Rica. But I was lucky. Amidst all of this I had been given the opportunity to be a kid, and to grow up. My family repeatedly counted our blessings that I “just” had UC, and not Crohn’s, a similar disease that is able to spread throughout the entire digestive tract. We experienced Crohn’s through my uncle who battled it for 34 years, passing away from complications at the age of 53. I spent 19 years thanking God that my disease was gone, knowing I could deal with the occasional hospital stay and course of antibiotics.
In April 2013 during a routine checkup I was given an additional diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I was terrified. I still am. Thankfully I’ve learned there are many new treatment options for Crohn’s as a direct result of research funded by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. After 8 months, we finally have a treatment plan that is minimizing my symptoms.
I learned at an early age how fragile our lives are so I try to make the most of each day. Sometimes this means I take on too much, offer to do too many things, and try to pack too much into my schedule. But it also means that every day I focus on making good decisions that will promote my health. I’d venture that I eat better than most and exercise more than most, and I try to share these values and goals with my swimmers, friends, and family so that they too will make healthy choices. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with frustration that I have two medical conditions that get in the way of my goal of living a healthy life. It doesn’t seem fair that I try so hard, but there will always be that wild card that could bring everything crashing down at any time. Training for this run and raising money for this foundation is my way of fighting to preserve the life that I hold so dear. I want the opportunity to work for many more years, to learn to be a better physical therapist and help many more patients and their loved ones. I want the opportunity to coach and share my love for swimming, fitness, and nutrition with countless additional swimmers. I want the opportunity to be a mom. And I want the opportunity to live a long, happy life with my husband and the rest of my family. Please help me have control over these things and help me and so many other people stay healthy for longer by making a donation to the CCFA.
In 2004 I completed the Twin Cities Marathon. I can’t say I ran the full distance, but I did cross the finish line. After that, I told myself it was the one and only time I’d train for a long distance run unless someone close to me wanted to run together in support of a worthy cause. So with that, here we are.
I’ve been blessed with good health throughout my life, so much so that when I am sick I tend to be somewhat of a baby about it. It’s a bit embarrassing especially knowing all the challenges Lindsey has faced most of her life. I’ve learned quite a bit about Crohn’s and Colitis through her experiences and her uncle’s. When she's sick it's sad for me but also incredibly frustrating to feel there's nothing I can do to help. But I know that living with these diseases is more manageable now than it used to be. All of the advances in treatment would not be possible without groups like the CCFA and the research they fund. However, there’s still a long way to go to ensure no child has to face the same hurdles as Lindsey.
I’m running to protect Lindsey’s health, for the memory of her Uncle Jack, and so that hopefully someday living with Crohn’s and Colitis will be a thing of the past.
. : : Make a Contribution : : .
Total Donations: $10,575.00 Goal: $10,000
"this is a great cause! I ran the Las Vegas half marathon on behalf of my sister who has Crohn's! Thank you for sharing you story and best of luck! GO TEAM CHALLENGE!"
"In honor of my amazing sister, Lindsey, and in loving memory of my wonderful uncle, Jack... I'm so proud of both of you for doing this! I love you guys! "
Jeron and Anita Larson
"Good luck you two."
"Good luck achieving your goal! We're rooting for you!"
"Lindsey, you are an inspiration, stay healthy and good luck ! "
"Good luck guys!"
Jason & Lindsay Pleggenkuhle
"Good luck with the run, I'm sure you will dominate it! Dave you better beat your previous time!"
"Good luck and have fun!"
"Maybe the run will help Dave's golf game"
"Dave Good Luck to you and your lovely wife!!!"
"Good Luck with the run Dave!
"Thank you for your efforts in finding a cure for Crohn's and Colitis!"
Chris & Tara Melsha
"Good luck and God bless, Lindsey and Dave!"
"Thank you so much for raising awareness and donations for such an important cause!
Way to go, you are over half way there!!"
"Here's to a cure! Way to go, Lindsey and Dave!"
David and Barbara Hulit
"While I can picture Dave running a 1/2 marathon, I still can't grasp the thought of Lindsey doing so. This is the girl who, in middle school, offered to swim a mile to get out of running the mile for phy ed class. But if anyone will accomplish a goal she has set for herself, it will be Lindsey. You go girl! And God bless Dave for doing this with her!"
"Good Luck Lindsey!!"
"Ryan Morlok: Bar Crawl Contribution"
"Bar Crawl May 2014 with Katy Morlok & friends"
Greg. & Cindy Doyle
"Bar Crawl sponsor for Katy & Ryan Morlok, Karen Morlok, Twila Buesing.
"Awesome race. Lil' sis Becky has Crohn's which was misdiagnosed for years, icky story too. :( Stay health and have fun with the race. "
"Good luck to both of you in the 1/2 marathon! Linsdsey, you are such a great role model and inspiration to all swimmers, especially young girls. Keep up the great work!"
"Good luck Dave and Lindsey! Thanks for raising research money. Our family has been touched by this disease also. Let's find a cure!"
Rachel Van Scoy
"A note from a fellow coach: Love you Lindz, always keep pushing, and smell those lilacs when you run past them :). Dave, you wonderful man, no whining on the run ;) You two are beautiful people. Thanks for raising awareness and sharing your experiences so authentically."
"Good Luck Lindsey and Dave, I know that you will do well!!"
"Good luck Coach Lindsey!"
"Sorry we missed the pasta dinner. Good luck to both of you! We wish you all the best! The Junkans"
"Silent auction items."
"Good luck Lindsey and Dave and HAVE FUN!!!"
"Best of luck on the run! "
"Dave and Lindsey, Best of luck to you two on the run for this very worthy and personal cause!"
About Team Challenge
Team Challenge is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s endurance training and fundraising program. With Team Challenge, you’ll find new strength inside yourself, and help find cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two painful, seldom-discussed and debilitating digestive diseases. With our Half Marathon and Triathlon Training Programs, you'll train for a rewarding and exciting endurance event at one of our great destination races while raising vital funds for research into these diseases. These dollars will help make new treatments possible and fuel the search for cures.
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans. These chronic diseases tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and may affect any part from the mouth to the anus.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.
Since our founding over four decades ago, CCFA has remained at the forefront of research in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Today, we fund cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurture investigators at the early stages of their careers, and finance underdeveloped areas of research. In addition, our educational workshops and programs, along with our scientific journal, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, enable medical professionals to keep pace with this rapidly growing field.