The Scariest Thing of All

October 31, 2009 at 2:29 am | Posted in IBD Medical Facts | 3 Comments
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Halloween is a holiday of strange appeal. On this day we celebrate the things that we secretly dread and the fantastical terrors that haunt our dreams- the macabre dance of shadows from whistling wind-swept tree limbs, black-clad witches with crooked noses and masked men with shrill laughs and serrated fingernails. For many of us it’s a time to dress in mysterious costumes, impersonate the dead and embrace the night. For others, Halloween is a night to let loose and have fun behind a mask.

In all its many inceptions, Halloween remains a chance to be someone you aren’t. To do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Why are these pumpkins so smiley?

This idea got me thinking, what would people do if they could step outside of themselves and really be another person? What if you had the chance to really face your fears, and it wasn’t all part of some elaborate night of facades, or a scripted ploy built into the walls of a smoky haunted house with strobe lights and bowls of cherry-flavored blood punch?

Would you come out of it with a different outlook?

As you know from this blog, or if we’ve run into each other somewhere in Manhattan, I am running in December for children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. This is a painful, debilitating disease. And for children it is terrifying. If you don’t know much about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and the effects they have on people, please take a moment and watch the video below from

In this video, Dr. Susan L. McGladdery, the Regional Director from First Med Centers in Hungary, describes the symptoms and effects of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).

Here are some key points to take away from this video, quoted from Dr. McGladdery-

Inflammatory bowel diseases, either Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, occur when “the linking of the digestive tract becomes inflamed… they’re very painful and debilitating and sometimes even life-threatening conditions.”

Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms in the range of “pain, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bleeding, weight loss, and anemia.”

One last point that was even shocking to myself was the likelihood of IBD sufferers to develop cancer. This is an important thing to consider- we spend a lot time and resources fighting cancer, and it weighs a great deal on our nation’s healthcare system. So why not spend more time fighting conditions that likely cause cancers to form? Isn’t that the kind of preventative action should be taking in this country?

According to Dr. McGladdery, “both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease also increase your risk of colon cancer. Approximately 10% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease go on to develop a cancer, and the risk is greatest after inflammatory bowel disease has been present and active for 10 years.”

Do you want to do the math on 10% of the 1.2 million people with IBD?

Donate today, so a child doesn’t have to worry about those numbers.


Training Update: Closing in on 10 Miles!

October 27, 2009 at 4:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week has been phenomenal in every way. Firstly, I am proud to say that my running ability is now far beyond what it ever was before. The training is working- the hills, the incremental increases in distance, speed intervals, and best of all the guiltless mass consumption of carbs- it’s all working! I am thinner, faster, and can now run further than ever before.

9 miles! I used to struggle with 3, now I just need to push it 4 more and I’ll have this half-marathon in the bag. Best of all, I physically feel great about the whole thing. My body isn’t breaking down like I thought it would, it’s actually becoming stronger and more efficient.

I’ll be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever trained for something like this and it made me more nervous than an ant in the shadow of a shoe sole when I started. But thanks to the support from my team, the guidance of my trainer Jay Hachadoorian, and the people following the Crohn’s TeamChallenger cause and telling me their stories, I am motivated and pumped to continue on!

Let’s get together and make some change in this world! Donate today and help better the life of a child with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis!

The Benevolence of Strangers

October 23, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The internet is an interesting place, especially this latest rendition of it. It’s gone from a large ocean fed by tributaries of voices washing across the phone lines to a series of focused and highly vocal communities. This great ocean has been desalinized and drained into small glasses- easy to drink from. Easier still to fill again.

The most beautiful thing to come out of the internet’s second coming, is the focused communities it so desperately needed in the first. The noise has been tuned into, to the point where I can take up a cause and 2 months later have close friends that I help and who help me in return.

Today a fellow advocate for Crohn’s awareness wrote this about me on his website.

I want to give a special note for Nicholas Collard. He is someone who does not have Crohn’s Disease, and didn’t know anyone with it. He took it upon himself to start doing marathon fundraisers for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). He has also right now switched focus to Camp Oasis, and helping kids. This is a wonderful camp for kids with Irritable Bowel Diseases.

Nicholas was also incredibly kind to feature CDSN in his blog:

More information can be found about Nicholas under the Crohn’s Fund-raising tab; def worth the read!

Thanks Nicholas for all your support and awareness for IBD.


This really means a lot, and as I keep saying, it serves as further motivation to keep up the cause. Thank you.

Also, don’t forget, I am raising money for children with Crohn’s Disease. I say this for those who just stumbled onto here from Google. If you would like to contribute to this charity fundraiser, click here to be redirected to my CCFA page. We’ve raised $850 so far, and are steadily on the way to making the $4000 goal by December. All money goes to the CCFA, which funds Camp Oasis for children suffering from Irritable Bowel Diseases.

Meet the Crohn’s Community

October 20, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One of the most rewarding parts of this whole fundraising endeavor has been meeting and conversing with people with Crohn’s Disease. There are whole communities out there, helping and supporting each other through this illness. It’s been a pleasure finding those people and getting to know them individually. Two things they all have in common: everyone I’ve spoken to has been very friendly, and they have all been so grateful for the work being done to raise money and awareness for their disease. And while I’m not doing this for recognition, I can’t say I don’t appreciate being appreciated.

Here are some of the people I’ve met and groups I’ve followed since starting Crohn’s TeamChallenger. Please, take a look at these sites and let them know you appreciate their work as well.

CDSN Firstly there is the Crohn’s Disease Support Network created by Jason Leitman. This site is built using and provides users with a forum to chat with each other and provide support and useful information on a variety of topics surrounding IBD. The site also contains a link to Jason’s blog, along with several others. You can log on directly, or find it on Twitter via the hashtag #CDSN and of course by adding Jason at @Jason31480. Odds are if you go there, he’ll be in the chat room- so send him a holla and let him know I sent you!

Another great resource is the blog My Journey with Crohn’s Disease by Inna Lukyanovsky. This blog is another all-encompassing one-stop shop for information on living with Crohn’s Disease. The layout of the page is very simple to navigate, making the multitude of information more easily accessable. Find the blog directly, or link to it from its parent site Journey with Crohn’s Disease, which contains still more information on Crohn’s Disease. You can also tweet Inna with your comments and questions at @CrohnsSolutions. Be sure to be friendly and follow her while you’re there, the support is always appreciated.

And if you’re wondering what’s being done for people outside of America, take a look at the Rubber Side Down project by Greg Mailloux, Vin Heney, John Scott, and Andy Peterson. These guys set out to ride “from the Rockies to the Rock” in support of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. A large part of their project’s mission, like my own, is to raise awareness on its own for Crohn’s and colitis.

Canada has one of the highest prevalences of Crohn’s and Colitis in the world, yet many Canadians are still unaware the causes and effects of these debilitating diseases. Along with spreading the word about the prevalence of these diseases, by the very nature of biking across Canada we will promote physical activity and sound ecological practices.

Camp Oasis

October 12, 2009 at 1:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

camp oasis I was giving some thought to my reasons for fundraising for a cure for Crohn’s disease and decided to further focus my efforts. Going forward I will be training, running, and fundraising specifically for the children who have Crohn’s disease.

Most forms of Crohn’s set in between the ages of 15 and 20 years old, but flare ups can occur at a younger age as well. These symptoms can be devastating, especially to a young child who does not understand what is happening.

Look at children in the parks, look how they play. Now imagine the children that cannot be there along with the ones you see. They have severe stomach aches that keep them in bed, or diarrhea and bleeding throughout the day that prevents them from having a normal, fun, enjoyable childhood.

I thought about this today and decided I can’t live complacently in a world where that is a reality. Children are tomorrow’s leaders, but today they should at least be allowed to be children- without reservation or restriction. Without pain.

With the generous donations of people just like you, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is able to provide millions of dollars a year in grants to funding research on groundbreaking treatments for Crohn’s disease; bringing us one step closer to finding a cure.

In addition to that, the CCFA also uses money collected to fund Camp Oasis, a summer camp designed to enrich the lives of children suffering from Crohn’s disease. Children and teens attending Camp Oasis develop friendships and support, and learn that they are not alone. The activities support them while providing them with a fun and adventurous camp getaway experience.

Their words speak for themselves: one camp member, Sarah, describes Camp Oasis as “a place where I could have a caring and understanding environment and I could have fun without worrying about others judging me.”

Be a part of this great endeavor, won’t you?

Click here and make your donation to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, through Team Challenge New York, so that camp will stay open and a cure will be found.

“The Test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” ~James Buchanan

Two Sources of Inspiration in the Fight Against Crohn’s Disease

October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I want to share today two names of great people. Dr. Stacy Spaulding and Jennifer Robinson.

Dr. Spaulding is a former professor of mine at Towson University in Maryland. She has been a source of constant source of knowledge and inspiration for me as I’ve traversed the continent trying to leave a footprint on this life. when I announced my fundraising effort, she so readily took up the cause and has helped get the word out about the Crohn’s TeamChallenger project. This week she took it a step further and made a very generous contribution to my fundraiser.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything you’ve done.

The second person is Jennifer Robinson, a woman I have never met who reached out to me yesterday and told me her story. She told me about her battle against Crohn’s disease that has been going on for over two years now. She told me about the pain and discomfort, and the constant illness that at one point caused her weight to drop rapidly to just 90 lbs. Jennifer is doing much better now thanks to innovative new treatments and lifestyle changes she’s made. I look forward to speaking with her again soon.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story. You are a renewed source of motivation for me.

Folks, please donate to this cause so the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America can continue developing new treatments and one day a cure for the hundreds of thousands of people living in this country with Crohn’s disease.

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