Welcome to Robin and Les Campbell’s fundraising page for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America ("CCFA"). We are once again ”Running for Ricky,” and will be participating in a half-marathon in Las Vegas on December 2, 2012 in honor of our son, who was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2003. We are pleased to report that Ricky is doing better this year – he exercises every day, maintains a strict diet, and is on a new medication, Humira, which has reduced his flare-ups. He graduated from FSU this year, has moved to Jacksonville and has even landed a good job!!!
Since we ran our first fundraising marathon in 2007, we have run over 4000 miles and raised nearly $100,000 to fight these diseases.
Our local ABC TV station recently ran a segment featuring our fundraising efforts -- in case you missed it, you can view it by cutting and pasting the following link to your browser:
Tremendous progress is being made in researching the causes and potential cures for these diseases (see Research Update below), and we are now convinced that we will in fact see a cure for Crohn’s Disease in our lifetime. However, as of today, well over one million Americans are afflicted with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, including 150,000 children. It is hard to comprehend the collective suffering of such a vast number of people, so we’d like to share with you the story of just two of them.
Kate is our CCFA South Florida team’s “Honored Hero.” When Kate was just two, she came down with what her parents thought was the stomach flu, but after a week of severe diarrhea, vomiting, and high fevers, her pediatrician referred her to a GI specialist. After a colonoscopy and extensive blood work, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. The first medications that she was put on helped with her gastrointestinal symptoms, but failed to ease all of the other symptoms that Crohn’s can bring about, such as debilitating joint pain, fevers, eye pain, and severe fatigue. She was given a new medicine, 6MP, which did put her into remission, but unfortunately the remission only lasted two short months. With few other treatment options available, she has been put on a powerful new drug, Remicade, and her parents are hopeful that this will finally put her into long-term remission and allow her to return to being a happy, energetic, and fun-loving little girl. Kate celebrated her fifth birthday in June and her parents are optimistic that with diligent treatment and care, she will be able to stay ahead of this disease and have the bright future that every child deserves.
We first met Meagan while training for last year’s marathon in Las Vegas (the picture above was taken just after she completed that run!) Meagan seemed like a normal, healthy, fun loving girl, but we soon learned that what you see on the outside is often much different from what lies inside. Meagan has a severe case of Ulcerative Colitis. Despite numerous surgical procedures, a strict diet and treatment with a plethora of medications, Meagan’s condition has gotten much worse this year. She has been hospitalized almost continuously for the last several months, and her doctors have been forced to remove her colon, her large intestine, and all but a few feet of her small intestine. She contracted sepsis from one surgery and today remains hospitalized, bravely fighting to overcome these challenges. Despite what she has gone through, Meagan had maintained a remarkably positive attitude. She says, “’Live life to the fullest’ is and always will be my motto. I don't give the disease a chance to dictate my life. I have this disease – that I cannot change. But, it DOESN'T have ME. It does not run my life and I definitely DON'T let it define who I am as a person.” We are in awe of Meagan’s courage and inner strength, and thank her for letting us share her story.
For those of us who are fortunate to have good health, it is difficult to relate to the pain and suffering that Meagan and Kate are enduring, but it is a battle that thousands upon thousands of Americans face every day. For Megan, for Kate, and for Ricky, we are determined to continue our fight to find a cure for Crohn's and Colitis.
So here’s where YOU come into the picture. PLEASE, help us out!!! Our goal this year is to raise $10,000 for the cause. We are so grateful to those of you who have given SO generously in our past fundraising drives. Once again, we really, really need your support to combat these terrible diseases.
Please donate today, and be part of the cure!
Robin and Les
P.S. It is important to note that the American Institute of Philanthropy has again given the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation one of only 6 "A" ratings (out of 44 national charities) in its latest watchdog report. That means that this is an extremely dedicated organization which is making the most of the dollars it raises, and is working hard to find a cure for these diseases. We are confident that it is an organization which is worth of your support.
Research and Funding Update:
In 2011 CCFA’s mission-critical expenditures increased to $43.5 million, from $39.2 million in fiscal year 2010. 81.8% of contributions to CCFA in 2011 went directly to program services (research, education and patient support services), with 8% and 10.2% spent on fundraising and administrative costs, respectively.
With respect to research, CCFA has launched its Genetics Initiative. This study is one that scientists are very excited about – and will hopefully lead to individualized treatment plans, and ultimately a cure. Studies of the human genome have revolutionized our ability to identify genes that result in genetic risk for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These studies allow scientists to study the mechanisms by which genetic variants influence disease susceptibility, and pave the way for groundbreaking studies to create individualized treatments. Genome-wide association studies in IBD patients have identified 100 non-overlapping genetic markers, of which approximately 50 are unique to either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
With such rapid progress in identifying these genetic factors, the challenge for scientists has become understanding just how disease genes and their corresponding alleles are related to health and disease, and finding ways to apply this knowledge to improved patient care through earlier diagnosis, individualized treatment, and identifying those at risk of developing disease to prevent disease altogether. With your help, this progress will continue and soon lead to effective treatment and cures for these debilitating diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.ccfa.org.