Washington, DC—Michael Becker of Bethesda, Maryland was just 14 years old when he was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a painful form of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the colon and rectum.
“I remember I missed my first day of high school because I went to the doctor,” recalled Michael. “What I thought would be just a few hours at the doctor’s office, turned into a two to three week stay at the hospital. We couldn’t seem to get control of the disease. The symptoms were really unpleasant—going to the bathroom every hour it seems, blood in the stool, being weak all the time. It didn’t make for a pleasant high school experience.”
The rest of his teenage years would prove to be tough at times—a seemingly endless cycle of hospital visits, medication and missed classes. Surgery fixed his issues for awhile, but a flare up of symptoms 10 years later brought him back to square one.
Stories like Michael’s are what fuel participation at the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis Walk. The 2012 National Capital Area event will take place Saturday, June 16 on the Washington Monument Grounds and is hosted by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
“The funds and awareness raised through the CCFA and Take Steps is so important for research for IBD,” said Aline Charabaty, MD, director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Michael’s gastroenterologist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “Over 1.4 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases and many of these patients suffer in silence. This event gives them a voice and a platform to be heard.”
Thankfully, now at the age of 27, Michael’s current medication is working well and his colitis is under control. Having just finished his second year of law school at American University, Michael says he can finally concentrate on his studies without having to worry about his illness.
“I feel great. The best thing I can say about it is that I forget that I have ulcerative colitis. It’s just a testament to my doctors, the medication, my support system, and all the folks at Georgetown. I know that the symptoms can come back at any time, but thankfully it’s allowed me to put the disease in the back of my mind and not be consumed by it and lead a great life."
Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis is CCFA's largest fundraising event. Participants raise funds and awareness throughout the year and come together to celebrate the strides that have been made towards a cure.
To register for the Take Steps Walk or to make a donation, visit ccfa.org. Participants can also sign up to walk with MedStar Georgetown’s team of doctors, nurses and patients by clicking on ‘Join a Team,’ then searching for team name ‘Georgetown Gastroenterology’.
Media Contact: Meggie Davis
Patient Contact: 202-342-2400