Last December, 30,000 people crossed the finish line of the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. Of those, 1,400 were Team Challenge participants, and one of those was me.
My name is Grant Henry, and I have lived with ulcerative colitis for six years.
It started when I was 23 and graduated from the University of Arizona. I was the epitome of health. Then, in an instant, my life completely changed.
To save you from the gruesome details, I bled a lot. I will forever remember the night my mom took me to the ER, and I screamed at her to pull over the car. We were minutes from the hospital, but I couldn't make it. I opened the door, and everything went black...
I woke up in a hospital bed and was told that I had ulcerative colitis after my first of soon-to-be-many colonoscopies. I had no idea what that meant. I would not accept that I was sick. Two years later, three extended stays at the hospital, and a dissipating mind and body made me realize that it was time for a change. I was sick! I could either spend the rest of my life in and out of hospitals or alter my outlook on life. I chose the latter.
I have made it a mission to never let me illness stand in my way. I joined Team Challenge, the endurance program for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), to fundraise for the foundation and train for the marathon.
I have achieved things that I would have never attempted if it were not for ulcerative colitis. Things that I used to say, "I can't" to are now replaced with "I can and I will!" I want to encourage others to push themselves, so I am continuing my adventure with Team Challenge to spread awareness about the disease and support the runners and walkers from the Los Angeles team.
I suffer from an invisible disease. On the outside, I look healthy, and some days I feel healthy. But on the inside, I can become incredibly ill. The disease can be debilitative and incredibly painful. It's not glamorous, and it's not something we even want to discuss. But it's something that affects 1 in 200 Americans, so it's something that we must talk about. It's time to escape the stall.
Join me in the fight to cure Crohn's and ulcerative colitis by joining Team Challenge LA/OC, and we will reach the finish line together.
Watch me run 13.1 miles in 60 seconds:
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of IBD, affecting 1.4 million Americans. Both illnesses have one strong feature in common -- they are marked by an abnormal response by the body's immune system attacking the gastrointestinal tract. Team Challenge is an endurance and fundraising program of CCFA. Team Challenge LA/OC is participating in the 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon on June 8, Kona Half Marathon on June 23, and Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 21. Please contact Jessica Dean, Program Manager, for more information at email@example.com.