WEST ALEXANDRIA — A group of Preble County residents are taking steps to raise awareness of Crohn’s Disease. A fundraiser was held on Friday, June 22, organized by mother Shelly Cummins. The funds were raised for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, for Cummins’ Take Steps Team (Purple Rain). Their team was created in honor of Cummins’ daughter who suffers from the disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Take Steps is their largest fundraising event, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the 1.6 million American adults and children affected by Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The funds raised through Take Steps held support patient programs, enhance professional education efforts, and propel critical research for cures.
Since its inception, Take Steps has successfully connected more than 120,000 patients, families, and businesses in the community and raised more than $75,000,000 to support the foundation.
“To raise money we are having a fine painting party, the company is called Nailed It and she is dedicating 50 percent of this entire party to our cause. We’re also selling shirts and having raffle items. The Women’s Auxiliary donated the American Legion for us to host our party,” Cummins said.
“This is just one of the events we are having to raise money for our Take Steps team. I have a few events planned. I don’t want people to just hand money to me, I want them to enjoy themselves.”
Purple Rain will be walking in Dayton’s Take Steps walk in October. In the meantime, they are trying to raise the most money possible. For Cummins, Crohn’s Disease is an issue that is close to her heart.
“My daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was 10 years old. I had never even heard of Crohn’s Disease. A lot of people haven’t. It is not super common, especially not in the pediatric world. There are not a lot of pediatric medicine for it. Long story short, she spent 22 days in the ICU,” Cummins said.
“She has already failed some medications and she has already built up anti-drug antibodies to some medications. She asked the doctor what the next medicine was and he said her next treatment was probably in a trail. We are out of options. It inspired me to get involved.
“Our journey has been short lived so far. I’m on a Facebook page with other parents and these kids are sick. It is a chronic illness. A lot of people, if they have heard of it, they think it is just a stomach problem. It is so much more than that, it can effect your joints, eyes, skin, and can do all kinds of crazy things to your body.
“These kids are not just having a stomach ache, they are ill and very sick. They are in and out of the hospital, 70 percent of patients with Crohn’s Disease have surgery. It is a chronic illness, not just a stomach ache. It is a serious illness, especially when it concerns kids.”
Stay tuned for future events to benefit Purple Rain — there will be one hosted at Old Schoolhouse Winery in Eaton. To donate to the team, visit Purple Rain’s page on the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s web-page. According to that page, Cummins has already raised $1,988 for the Foundation.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH