I’ve signed the paperwork and begun actual physical training to run in November’s San Antonio Half Marathon in as part of CCFA’s (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s*) Team Challenge. Last Saturday was our first group training session and we ran three miles along the lakefront and through Milwaukee’s East Side. This is literally the longest distance I’ve ever run, and at the start I was doubtful I could even complete those three miles. I did walk for several stretches, but completed the session — a major personal accomplishment and a great way to start raising both awareness and research funds for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
For someone such as myself who has never run in any major event, it feels great to be starting my running career with Team Challenge. I’m also proud to be serving as an “honored hero” for this year’s event — as such I represent the many individuals who are directly impacted by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The challenges that those individuals face and overcome on a daily basis make a 10.3‑mile run seem easy.
Between the Saturday group runs, our training schedule consists of daily runs or cross-training. During this past week, I’ve run several shorter (1‑mile and 2‑mile) distances, mixed in biking and strength exercises, and run a second 3‑mile run. (A selfish side benefit of all this training is that by November my body may be in shape for the first time in my life.) In addition to the physical challenge, of course, there is the challenge to raise funds for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis research and patient services. I’ve just begun contacting family members, friends and other colleagues and acquaintances to ask for their support — and their help funding CCFA’s efforts against Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. My goal is to raise $5,000 directly as a result of my Team Challenge participation.
Why am I so committed to supporting CCFA? Four decades ago, CCFA created the field of Crohn’s and colitis research. Today, the foundation funds cutting-edge studies at major medical institutions, nurtures investigators at the early stages of their careers and finances underdeveloped areas of research. In fact, the United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) has commended CCFA for “uniting the research community and strengthening Crohn’s and colitis research.” CCFA also provides educational programs for patients, physicians and the public, including webcasts and live education seminars, over 300 active support groups, chapter newsletters and a national magazine and much, much more. And each and every donation supports these efforts. More than 83 cents of each dollar CCFA spends goes directly to mission-critical programs, including research and educational programs. (FYI – This is one of the lowest percentages of administrative costs for any U.S. nonprofit, meaning the direct impact of your donation is maximized.)
To show your support for my Team Challenge effort, or to keep track of my fundraising progress, please visit my participant page on the Team Challenge website. And thanks in advance to each and every one of you who is helping make a difference for the 1.4 million Americans who suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
*The best source for information about Crohn’s disease is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, also known as CCFA. CCFA is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. CCFA provides accurate, current, disease-related information to the public, health care professionals, and patients and their families. The CCFA Information Resource Center can be reached at: 888.694.8872. The CCFA website is www.ccfa.org.