This past weekend I took part in the education symposium for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Along with my friend and colleague Barbara Harrison Klaynan we ran the pediatric portion of the event. Typically at this event there are loads of kids, but this year there were only 2. They happened to be the same age of 15 and it was really awesome. Even though only 2 kids showed up – I believe that we managed to make an impact. Barbara had some great drama therapy activities to play with the kids and I did a few yoga stretches and breathing exercises with them. One of the kids was just recently diagnosed with crohns and he seemed to not be in the greatest place when he first came into the room. By the end, he was talking and laughing with the other kid and I’d like to think that we created a safe space where both children knew that A) they weren’t alone with this disease and B) they could open up to us since we knew exactly what they were going through.
There really is something about ‘being in this together’ and not feeling like you’re completely alone. If you haven’t been to a CCFA event yet, get yourself to one. There are walks and races all around the country and it’s a fantastic place to meet people that are just like us. Colitis and crohns are ‘silent’ diseases since you can’t see them from the outside, and that’s why it’s even more important to stick together. Spread the word to those that you know and love that there are other people out there and we need to connect and stay together.
Knowledge and friendship is power.