|Dear Friends & Family,
We are about to embark on a fantastic journey, and we need your help! We will complete the 2014 Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 20th to help find a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Together We Can Make a Difference!
As a member of Team Challenge, we have a coach, a training program, and teammates to support us. We have committed to a training schedule that ensures we will run or walk my way to success, and we’ve pledged to raise $6,400 in donations to The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America by July 9th.
WE ARE MOTIVATED! WE ARE COMMITTED! WE WILL DO IT!
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America is committed to improving the lives of children and adults with these diseases, and so am I! Please help support this important cause by giving generously.
CCFA is a nationally top-ranked charity and a minimum of 82 cents per dollar raised goes directly to research and patient support, and your contribution is tax deductible.
Thank you for your support!!
I, Chayla Fisher, am 16 years old and I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 8 months old. I can't remember a time when I wasn't sick. My whole life I have had to deal with medications, hospitalizations, diets, and keeping stress levels down. Until a couple years ago, I didn't realize what was going on with me. I thought taking 20 pills a day, having stomach aches all the time, and being sick was normal. Two years ago I found out about the CCFA and Team Challenge and it completely changed my life. Not only did I no longer feel alienated, but I also met tons of people who were going through the same thing as me. I signed up for my first half-marathon when I was 14 years old. Even though I was going through one of the worst flares that I have ever had, the coaches, mentors, and teammates all helped and supported me through my whole journey. After completing my first half in Kona, Hawaii with a time of 2 hours and 34 minutes, I fell in love with Team Challenge. I immediately signed up for the next one, the Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon where I was not only a participant, but I was also the honoree.
This was the first time that I ever openly talked about my disease. Before Team Challenge, I was embarrassed. I thought that people would negatively judge me because I had Colitis. But, I found that people were especially supportive of me and my cause. Out of nowhere people were telling me about all these people they knew with Crohns or Colitis. I immediately got support from everyone I talked to. At first, talking at the info meetings was hard because I never knew exactly what to say or how to say it. But I have now become fluent in talking about my disease.
I am so lucky that I got to meet my best friend my freshman year of high school when I had just started training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon. The first month of school I did a presentation on my “Hero’s Journey” to crossing the finish line. I told my whole class about my disease and I wasn’t embarrassed about it. It was such a great feeling to be accepted by people my own age, especially this amazing and beautiful girl Rowan. We immediately clicked and began spending a ton of time together. We found out that we had a ton in common. The closer we got, the more I told her about my disease. She was so supportive and accepting. I can’t thank her enough for the confidence she gave me. And I am so glad that she will be running this half-marathon with me. I can’t wait to cross the finish line with my best friend.
These past few years have been a roller coaster. From having to take prednisone and gaining 50 pounds in one month, to going to Camp Oasis and Camp Gut Busters and meeting tons of kids my age who also have IBD, I am so glad that I had amazing friends and family to help me through it all. Sick or not, I plan to make this the best CCFA season ever because I am running with the person that makes me so happy and confident, my best friend, Rowan. I will not stop running until there is a cure.
Before my freshman year of high school, I had no idea what Colitis was and I would never have guessed that one of the most important people in my life would be affected by it.
I met Chayla in my English class on our very first day at Berkeley High School. Berkeley High is a huge school, and I was so scared and overwhelmed by the crowds of people pushing down the hallways and the taboo of being a freshman. So when I met Chayla, the most sympathetic, cheerful, and confident person out there, I immediately wanted to be friends with her.
I had no idea that Chayla was living with a disease. She was always in a good mood and looked perfectly healthy, and it wasn’t until our “Hero’s Journey” presentations in class that I found out she had been living with Ulcerative Colitis since she was 8 months old. I was so surprised that someone who had to deal with that much pain could play soccer, run half marathons, have a social life, and get good grades.
I’ve always been athletic; I’ve played soccer forever and I love to run. My father was a cross-country runner throughout high school, college, and after college, and I remember going to marathons he would run and wanting to run with him. However, as I got older, I began to think of any distance over 8 miles as unachievable. But when I heard about Chayla running a half marathon, I began to think that maybe I could run 13.1 miles as well. So when Chayla told me at the beginning of February that she was signing up for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon, I decided that I would run it with her.
There is no doubt that raising a huge sum of money and running 13.1 miles is going to be a challenge, but it is so worth it to help my best friend and the 1.5 million people (in the United States) who have been diagnosed with IBD. I’m really looking forward to finally making a difference in the world and I hope you all with support Chayla and I on our journey to cross the finish line for a cure. ?