Posts Tagged by running at disney

Team Challenge: Running for Family

I’ve always been very open about my struggles with Ulcerative Colitis…it sucks, big time! In 2012, I ran with Team Challenge and helped to raise money to support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  When Jessica reached out to me to let me know she was doing the same thing this year, I was thrilled!  It’s a wonderful racing team to be a part of and any bit of fundraising helps.  She offered to share her story on why she is running this year…  

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I’m so honored to write a blog post for Sarah. I’ve followed her Running at Disney blog since the beginning. I read a few years ago about her experience running the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon and was very inspired. Little did I know, that I would have a personal reason to be a part of Team Challenge so soon.

I started running seriously in 2009 training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon. Since then, I have run 16 other half marathons and 6 full marathons including 2 Goofy Race and a Half Challenges, Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon and the Dopey Challenge this past January. The half marathon I am running this July will be the most meaningful one of them all. I am running the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20th for Team Challenge. Team Challenge raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

Until a few years ago I had no idea what Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis (UC) were. That changed forever in 2012. Ever since the birth of my nephew in 2010, my sister had been having trouble with cramping, diarrhea, and other intestinal issues on and off. By the summer of 2012, she had made so many trips to the emergency room, she lost count. Her Gastrointestinal Doctor diagnosed her with UC and planned on starting medicines to start trying to reduce the flares. In August, my family was scheduled to come to Atlanta for my baby shower from Maryland and right before the trip, my sister got a bunch of sores in her mouth. ANOTHER trip to the ER ended with the diagnosis of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease and she was sent home with some “magic mouthwash”.

She didn’t make the trip to my baby shower with the rest of my family and by the time my mom got home to her, she was very malnourished and not improving at all. One call to the GI doctor later and they were back on their way to the hospital. This time she was admitted.

Elizabeth before her life saving surgery

Elizabeth before her life saving surgery

The placement of her PICC line, intending to give her nutrition and medicine saved her life. The x-ray to double check the placement of the PICC line showed that her large intestine had already perforated in multiple places. The doctor said if she was at home much longer, she wouldn’t have made it to the hospital. Getting the call from my dad that she was headed into emergency surgery to have her entire Large Intestine removed was the scariest call of my life.

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A few days after surgery

That same night I was searching the internet for support groups and stumbled upon the Team Challenge Website. A running group that fundraises for the disease that almost just took my sister from me? This is what I needed to do. So this past January, I went to a meeting and was so excited about the wonderful things CCFA does! Their mission is: To cure Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, and to improve the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases.

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My sister and I

Crohn’s and Colitis hit my family twice that year. My uncle was diagnosed with UC in the spring of 2012 and also ended up having an emergency colectomy. He now has a J-pouch and has his Colitis under control.

The great news is that my sister is on the road to recovery and living her life to the fullest. She is an amazing mom and enjoys spending every moment with her son Emmett.

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In fact she even started running herself!  She completed the Disney Family Fun Run 5k over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this past January.  

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I am so thrilled to contribute in my small way toward this wonderful cause. I want my sister, uncle and all of the other people I’ve met to find a cure and live full, healthy lives.  If you want to donate, please go to my Team Challenge fundraising page. Thank you so much, the money goes to such a good cause.

If you want to read my sister’s adventure through Crohn’s, Colitis and her ostomy, her blog is at mamasgotastoma.blogspot.com 

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Jessica lives in Marietta, GA with her husband, 1 and 1/2 year old daughter and three crazy dogs. She runs to have a few quiet moments to herself and keep herself sane. Jessica’s favorite full marathon was the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon and favorite half marathon was an epic adventure with friends running the Wine and Dine in 2013.  Follow her on twitter here: @jesscutler.

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Big thanks to Jessica for sharing her family’s struggles with UC and for supporting CCFA to find a cure.  These are really hard subjects to talk about, but the more we do talk about them, the more awareness that will be created.

If you want to learn more about Crohn’s and Colitis, head on over to www.ccfa.org for more information and please consider supporting Jessica…she even has some fun things in store for your donation.

  • $10: She will send you a Blue rubber bracelet that shows your support of the Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis foundation of America.
  • $50: She will write your name on the back of her jersey to share your support with everyone. 
  • $100: You can sponsor a mile of her race.
  • $200: She will make a “flat Stanley” character of you and take pictures along the course and send them to you after the race.  

Thanks again for the support and one day we will find a cure!!

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Introducing RAD Living!

Thanks for stopping by!  RAD Living was born out of my love for life and my desire to share what it has to offer with the world.  There are some pretty amazing things out there, but I never realized it until I actually started opening my eyes to it all.

You may know me from Running at Disney, which I started in January 2012 as I was training for my first half marathon.  runDisney was the catalyst that sent me on my current journey of living a balanced, healthy life and gave me the courage to put myself out there.  I have had so many amazing opportunities, met a ton of inspiring people and have since run 5 half marathons and 1 full marathon.  All things that I never thought I would do.  But there is so much more to me and my life than simply running and Disney.

I'm a Marathoner!

I’m a Marathoner!

My newest love is CrossFit.  I started almost a year ago as a way to improve my running, but I have found a passion for the sport that was surprising to me.  I had always hated weightlifting and toning exercises because I found them so repetitive and boring.  Well CrossFit is just the opposite and it is extremely rewarding…who knew I could lift over 200 pounds?!?  I want to share more about my experience in this crazy and exciting sport!

Chalk Monster!

Chalk Monster!

If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should be if you’re not!), you know I’m a huge foodie.  I love to eat food, I love to cook food, I love to dine out…you name it!  I have my Friday Feast series on Running at Disney, but I want to dive more into the world of food and drink locally here in Connecticut.

LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL!

LOCAL, LOCAL, LOCAL!

There are so many more things that I want to share and experience that don’t quite fit under the Running at Disney umbrella.  I live in Connecticut and this area is full of hidden treasures.  Since I spend 95% of my time in the Northeast, it makes sense to highlight all the wonderful things this area has to offer.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it!

No worries, Running at Disney is still alive and well!  I don’t think I will ever lose my obsession love for Disney or runDisney events and I will continue to cover all of that over there.  RAD Living is just an expansion, a growth, a quest…and I hope you will follow along and join me on this RAD journey!  Make sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram to get all the latest updates!

Oh and cats…there will obviously be cats!

Cleo&Neala

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