Advocates walk in Rockford for Crohn's and Colitis awareness - – Rockford’s News Leader

Advocates walk in Rockford for Crohn's and Colitis awareness


This weekend dozens in the Rockford community took steps to help those living with a disease that has no cure, Crohn's.
Advocates walked in support of Crohn's and Colitis awareness and funding.

"It's a disease that's tough for people to talk about," said Walk Director Heidi Merritt.

Crohn's is an inflammatory disease targeting the digestive tract.

"You may have upper stomach problems almost like an ulcer or you may have lower intestinal problems," said Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr. Glen Burress.

It impacts people of all ages including six-year-old Isabelle Coleman.

"Well, I love to take a walk," said Coleman.

Coleman looks like a typical six-year-old girl.  It might be hard to tell that she has a disease that can make life difficult.

"Often they can have weight loss and other symptoms as well so it affects how you eat, where you go," said Burress.  "It affects how you eat.  It affects where you go."

Coleman's dad has Crohn's disease too.

"He misses out on some things because of it," said Rebecca Meyers, Aunt of Isabelle Coleman.  "She does and activities."

Organizers of this weekend's walk said the Coleman family is not alone. About one out of every 200 people has Crohn's disease.  Many of them suffer in silence, which is why this public event is so important.

"Sometimes family members don't even fully understand the disease so that's another reason why we have these types of events," said Merritt.

There is a special program called Camp Oasis for children in the 2nd grade through their senior year of high school, where they can meet others with Crohn's disease.

“Its a week long camp where everyone is all a like," said Merritt.  "They all have the disease.  They realize they don't have to live alone.”

Event organizers said about 100 people came out and walked along the Rock River in support of the event.  

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