When I signed up for my first half-marathon, which took place recently on the Las Vegas strip at night, I knew I was in for a tremendous challenge. But I had no idea I would be finishing the 13.1 mile race while battling a small bowel obstruction.
While this setback easily could have sidelined me from the race, it made me all the more determined to see it through. The idea of letting down all the people who supported me for this event with kindness and generosity was more painful, to me, than the obstruction itself.
You see, this was Team Challenge, a fundraising event for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), a cause I truly believe in not only for myself, but for the millions of other people around the globe who suffer from these diseases, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
One of the brighter parts of my Team Challenge experience was the opportunity to meet in person someone who has become a personal hero because of everything he does for IBD patients, Dewey Thom. I met Dewey about a year ago through a mobile app called GI Monitor. When I felt a major obstruction building the night before the race, Dewey was the one I called in the middle of the night for advice. Between him, our CCFA team manager and our coach, I was quickly put in touch with a gastroenterologist from the University of California Los Angeles who was volunteering his time and services during the event.
The following is what Dewey shared on GI Monitor a few days after the race: “To fully appreciate Amanda’s accomplishment you should know that she has been largely on an Ensure diet for months, and not able to fully train … She fought off an obstruction Saturday night in the wee hours of the morning, with full onset of symptoms including nausea, bloating, pain etc., probably ‘slept’ for a few hours that morning, then with CCFA doc clearance was able to fully complete 13.1 miles.”
Dewey knew I was determined to finish the Team Challenge half-marathon regardless of training or fundraising shortcomings, because he knows how much it means to me to finally be able to actively fight back against Crohn’s and colitis.
In the past year, bowel obstructions have become a near-constant part of my life. A complication, I believe, from the multiple surgeries I went through ten years ago for ulcerative colitis. To read more about my battle with the disease click here.
“And notwithstanding being short of her fundraising requirement, she made her way to Vegas and crossed the finish line, hurdling those challenges with grace and aplomb,” Dewey said. “And if you have the means or desire to help her to her goal, I include her page here as she’s too modest to. Hell of a job Amanda. I cheer your accomplishment and thank you for your endurance!”