My journey in making it stop

Submitted by Jessi Hartwig, Vanderhoof B.C

Dear Editor, Friends and Family

It is another year into my journey with Crohn’s – lots of challenges but definitely successes as well. I was admitted to BC Children’s Hospital days after the Gutsy Walk 2016 and did not return home for three months. I spent my 17th birthday in hospital as well as missed the end of grade 11 and the beginning of grade 12. The good news is that thanks to the new medication, Stellara, and my third surgery, I have been out of hospital for over 8 months now – the longest stretch of time since my diagnosis! I have still had many physical challenges, visits to the ER and long trips to Vancouver for follow up tests and appointments, but at least I have been home. I have been able to complete enough of my grade 11 and 12 classes to be graduating in June with my friends which was something that didn’t seem like it was going to be possible last summer.

I was amazed and strengthened by the incredible support that I received last year with my first ever Gutsy Walk. I am grateful to have such a wonderful community of friends and family giving me strength. Words, prayers, cards, smiles, donations, visits…. they have all helped during the really tough times.

I have relied on a combination of talented and dedicated doctors and nurses to help me get through these past years – Dr. Jacobson, Dr Lawrence, Dr Skarsgaard, Dr Stanford, Amie Nowak, Kathie Evans, the team of nurses on ward 3F and the team of nurses and doctors in my own local community – you have all had an impact not only on my physical health, but also built up my courage, strength and ability to stay positive.

I am one of the few pediatric patients in B.C. who is taking Stelara because it has only recently become available for the treatment of Crohns disease. I am thankful that it was an option for me because none of the previous treatments worked well enough. There is a need for ongoing research to figure out what can be done to stop the increasing numbers of children in Canada who are diagnosed with Crohns/colitis each year and to continue to find new treatments for those of us who will live with this disease for the rest of our lives.. This will only happen with increasing awareness and advocacy. Your support and donations make that happen. THANK YOU.

Last year I had planned to hike to the Greer Creek waterfalls as a Vanderhoof version of the Gutsy Walk. Unfortunately I ended up needing to be in Vancouver and although I was able to participate in the Vancouver Gutsy Walk, I was admitted shortly after and did not get to make the Greer Creek hike at all last summer.

So I’m very excited that I was well enough this year to do the hike this year! Thanks for being GUTSY with me on Sunday, June 4 walking alongside over 23,000 walkers across Canada to help stop the pain, multiple surgeries, and missed moments.

One in 150 Canadians live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – a rate that ranks among the highest worldwide. Even more alarming is the rate at which children are being diagnosed: Crohn’s disease has doubled in kids under 10 years old since 1995. Families new to Canada are developing Crohn’s and colitis for the first time – often within the first generation.

It takes guts to make it stop. Help make it STOP by making a donation today. Every dollar you donate counts towards Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s investment in transformational research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness so that every child and adult with these diseases can live life to the fullest, and ultimately, be cured.

Thank you for all your support and donations. Thank you for showing you have the guts to make it stop. For life.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDIT logo.
NDIT grants over $160K to Vanderhoof for street lighting project on Burrard

Total cost of the project is approximately $380,000

Internet speeds in Vanderhoof have been a cause of concern for many local businesses. (File photo)
Lack of good connectivity puts rural communities at a disadvantage: Vanderhoof Mayor

The district is working with RDBN to get better internet facilities to town.

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof business can apply for a façade improvement program

The program provides funding up to $5,000 to update the look of the commercial property façade.

Kiah Thiessen-Clark and Kate Thiessen-Clark from W.L. McLeod Elementary won third place in their grade during the science fair held by School District 91. (SD91/website)
SD91 District holds Science Fair; announces 2021 finalists

Several finalists were from EBUS Academy and W.L. McLeod Elementary

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Most Read