Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Girl

Let me tell you a little bit about my niece Emma. Emma turned eleven in March. Emma was the first niece that I met and it was traveling to meet her for the first time that I met the first of Mr. Daddy's siblings, Craig, and his wife Nicole. We went to visit them in Huntsville when Emma was about a month old and now that I know how hard it is to have a new baby, Nicole, I'm SO sorry we imposed on you that weekend. I had NO IDEA what it might be like to have a new baby and two guests come to visit.

Emma was one of two babies at my wedding. She was about three months old and we have a great picture from the wedding of her mom and I cooing at her. She was perfectly behaved.

A couple of years ago, Emma grew out her hair for Locks of Love.

Emma is now the oldest of six children. She is bright. She is funny. She's a little quiet, but she is genuinely one of the kindest children I know. She just has a really sweet spirit and I know that when she grows up she's going to do something really great.

A couple of months ago Emma was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn's disease is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. Ulcerative colitis on the other hand, affects only the colon. The inflammation involves the entire rectum and extends up the colon in a continuous manner. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine. In contrast, such so-called "skip" areas may occur in Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost lining of the colon, whereas Crohn's disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million Americans have IBD; however, many more suffer in silence due to potential embarrassment and alienation. Crohn's disease may occur in people of all ages, but it is primarily a disease of adolescents and young adults, affecting mainly those between 15 and 35. However, Crohn's disease can also occur in people who are 70 or older and in young children as well. In fact, 10 percent of those affected -- or an estimated 100,000 -- are youngsters under the age of 18. On average, people are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in their mid-30s, although the disease can occur at any age.

My brother-in-law, Craig, has decided to run the 13.1 mile run at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio half marathon on November 16, 2008, to raise funds and awareness for research leading to improved treatment options and a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Here is a link to Craig's site that he's set up through the Chrone's & Colitis Foundation of Americato raise money for this race. A minimum of 83 cents per dollar raised by CCFA goes directly to research and patient support, and your contribution is 100% tax deductible.

I know we're all bombarded by financial demands. Gas prices are high. But even if you have just a few dollars, please take a moment to visit and give. So that we can find a cure. So that sweet girls like Emma won't be touched by this disease.

6 comments:

Laurel said...

I am so sorry to hear about Emma's illness. One of my dearest college friends was diagnosed with Chrone's Disease about 6 years ago. She is doing great, although I know it is sometimes a struggle. I pray that little Emma will have more good times than difficult and that the fundraising goes well. God bless.

Fannie Mae said...

My sister suffered with Colitis for six years. She was miserable. A prayer for you niece and I'll go make a donation.

Stephanie said...

Oh my gosh, I am truly sorry to hear about this. I just think all children should be spared this pain. I will send out prayers and will make a donation as well. Tomorrow is payday!!!!!

Always Home and Uncool said...

Know how it is. My daughter has a rare autoimmune disease (juvenile myositis), and we're in the Carlsbad, Calif., marathon in Jan to raise funds for her. Best of luck!

AmyM said...

Most definitely! I didn't know it could hit a child so young. Good luck to Craig and Emma!!

Colleen said...

Awww...poor Emma...that is so hard to hear when it is a child affected, especially so young and bright and sweet. I hope all the best for her in her treatments/therapies, and with Craig's run.