Strides for Crohn’s

Do you walk? Do you run? Do you like to drink beer and eat food for a great cause? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Strides for Crohn’s is the event for you.

For just $25, you get to go for a fun run with some cool people, PLUS a t-shirt and a beer.

WHAT: 2(ish) fun run/walk, raffles, food, beer, etc
WHEN: Sunday, November 13. Packet pickup begins at 11 a.m., fun run to start around noon.
WHERE: Horny Goat Hideaway (2011 South 1st Street, Milwaukee, WI 53207)
HOW MUCH: $25 before 11:59 p.m. November 6th, $30 thereafter.

If you don’t feel like running or walking, you can still help the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Just head on down to the Horny Goat Hideaway from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. November 13th for some food, drinks and fun! A percentage of all drink and food sales will be donated to the CCFA.

Space is very limited for the run, so don’t delay! Register today!

Visit www.stridesforcrohns.com to register.

It’s the final countdown…

Ok folks, I need to raise $280 in 4 days. That’s about $70 a day. Can you help me out? If I don’t raise the money, I have to pay the balance myself… and Monday’s my birthday. Please don’t make me use my rent money to pay the balance.

All donations of $20+ made through November 16 will win a gift certificate to The Establishment Salon in Shorewood!

  • Donate $20 or more, get a $10 gift certificate*
  • Donate $40 or more, get a $20 gift certificate*
  • Donate $75 or more, get a $20 gift certificate & you are entered to win a $300 Aveda Shopping Spree @ The Establishment Salon

*limit of 1 gift certificate per donor, can not be combined with other offers

Blue & Orange Challenge

Ever wonder what I’d look like with streaks of orange and blue in my hair? Well here’s your chance. If we reach my goal fundraising amount – $2520by by 28th birthday on November 15 – I will have permanent orange and blue streaks dyed in my hair. My hairdresser, Dawn, has graciously agreed to donate her time and money to do the streaks.

And don’t forget, we’re Bowlin’ for the Colon tonight! Stop by and join the fun!

Courtney’s struggle with Ulcerative Colitis

You know I’m training for a half marathon. You know I’m raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. But do you know anything about Crohn’s or Colitis?

Meet my new friend, Courtney (second from the right above).  She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2006. She is one of my Team Challenge teammates. I asked her to share her story with all of you.

Please take the time to read about Courtney’s journey with colitis. If you are so inclined, please consider donating to the CCFA. You can make a difference, no matter what the size of your donation is.

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in August 2006. I didn’t think too much of it at the time. What most concerned me was that my doctor said many people have to learn to make dietary changes, and he mentioned cheese as something some patients had to limit. I was appalled – “You mean even like cheese on tacos?!?” was my reply. I clearly had no clue what I was in for.

I maintained on my medications relatively symptom free until January 2008. Right at the start of spring semester, I went through a very serious flare up that eventually landed me in the hospital. I opted to go to a hospital in Kenosha near my family and the GI doctor I had been seeing. I was in the hospital for 10 days, and left in even worse condition having contracted a C Difficile infection on top of the UC flare. I saw my doctor a few times on an outpatient basis and he insisted I was getting better but it would be a “long road.” He was wrong.

At this point, I was barely able to walk (partially due to abdominal pain and partially due to my enormously swollen feet and ankles from the prednisone). I was taking around 25 different pills a day,
and I had dropped from a healthy 130 to 103 pounds. I had been unable to attend school or work for over a month. My father was getting frustrated and urged me to get a second opinion. He brought me
to Froedtert.

I will never forget the look on the GI doctor’s face when he saw me. He went completely white. I didn’t
see him again because when I came back from my X-Ray I was greeted by the surgical team. It was the
scariest moment of my life. Everyone who has UC knows that surgery is a possibility (and everyone who
has UC also knows this means ostomy, perhaps the scariest word in the English vocabulary to a 23 year
old female). I began to cry.

Little did I know, this doctor who was making me so angry was really just trying to save my life. He told
me I had toxic megacolon, and I needed emergency surgery to remove my colon. However, they needed
to get me hydrated and give me a blood transfusion before they could do the surgery, otherwise they
weren’t sure if I would make it. They scheduled me for the 8am slot the next day. Nobody wanted to
tell me at that point, but I was basically knocking on death’s door – had I waited much longer my colon
would have eventually burst and fatality was a real danger. I found out afterwards that I may have been
in the worst condition anyone there had ever seen.

Surgery for me gave me a new life. Yes, it was a long tough road, but I felt immediately better. Adjusting to life with an ostomy was hard at first (mentally and physically). Because I had been in particularly horrible condition, the construction of my jpouch had to be broken up into three surgeries over a 9 month period. I also tended to be a patient plagued with unexpected complications. Even today, I have to be on maintenance medications to treat recurrent pouchitis which my doctors think may be a by-product of the C Diff infections.

However, the ordeal has made me stronger. I am proud to say that even though the most difficult part of my illness occurred while I was in school I was able to stay on track with my program and graduate with my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology in May 2009. Despite small adjustments you have to make for living with a jpouch and pesky pouchitis flares (which, honestly, you may as well just have ulcerative colitis), I feel like myself again. I still have challenging days here and there, and I never know what the future will bring but, given all I’ve already been through, I do feel like I can handle just about anything. For me, this ½ marathon is extremely personal, and will make me feel like I have finally conquered the disease that kept me down for so long.

What is a j-pouch you ask?

A j-pouch is a surgical procedure that eliminates the need for an ostomy (external pouch) for patients
who’ve had their colon removed due to ulcerative colitis. When the colon is removed, the rectum is also
taken out because it is typically diseased as well. The surgeon then constructs a new “rectum” out of
the patient’s small intestine.

The surgery can be performed in two or three steps, depending on the health of the patient, and a
temporary ileostomy is necessary until the new plumbing is healed enough to operate. After the
operation, “j-pouchers” are able to pass stool through the *ehem*” usual route,” but because they lack
a colon, they have to use the restroom much more frequently than other people. In addition, there are
new dietary restrictions – generally, people with a j-pouch would want to avoid veggies and other high
fiber food as they take longer to digest, and well…. Let’s face it, we just don’t have as long as the rest of
you ;).

If Courtney can train to run a half marathon after all she’s been through, I can run a half marathon, too. Hell, we can ALL help out by giving generously.

Please help me raise $1283 in the next 9 days. Visit http://tinyurl.com/vegas10 to make your tax-deductible donation today. Can you spare $10?

What’s red and blue and orange?

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the pictures of me with electric blue bangs. That was a clip-on hair piece (obviously fake).

You also know I’m a little crazy.

You probably know that I am determined to help find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis.

I also have a hard time turning down a good challenge.

If y’all help me reach my goal of raising $2500 by the Team Challenge recommitment date of October 18, I will have permanent streaks of blue and orange dyed in my hair. Think highlights, only blue and orange. I will do this in November, a couple of weeks before the race. That means I’ll have blue and orange hair on Thanksgiving. And, it’ll still be there for Christmas, so you know my mother will be thrilled about that. Let’s also consider that I have red hair. Red hair is going to be hilarious with orange and blue streaks. Think about it.

October 18 is 63 days away. That means I have to raise $36.30 every day between now and then. If 3-4 people donate $10 each day, we’ll get there in no time. The reason why I really want to reach my own fundraising goal by October 18 is so I can spend the rest of the season helping my teammates reach their fundraising goals. As a mentor, I have “mentees,” many who have never done something like this before. I want to make sure each and every one of them gets to Vegas. Last season, I surpassed my goals fundraising-wise and was able to help out some teammates getting closer to their goals.

Can you spare $10, or can you spread the word to all your friends and family? Let’s leave the craps in Vegas!

Click here to donate: http://tinyurl.com/vegas10.

VEGAS, BABY!

Well, I’m at it again.  I was asked to be a mentor for the next season of Team Challenge and I gladly agreed! (If you want to join the team, there’s still time. Click here for more info).

I start training in just a few weeks for the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon December 5. This time around, I only have to raise $2500!

If you could, I would appreciate if you visit my fundraising page (http://tinyurl.com/vegas10) and consider making a donation of $26.20 or whatever you are able to contribute. If 100 people donate just $25, we’ll hit my goal in no time!

Stay tuned for some awesome Vegas-themed challenges.

Inspired by my friend Sarah, I am issuing a challenge. Donate here if …

  1. You’ve been cursed at, honked at, or flipped off while biking or running. – $1
  2. You lost a toenail because of running. – $2
  3. You spend more money on training gear/clothes than regular clothes. – $3
  4. You stopped making fun of fanny packs because your running belt looks very similar (and cooler) to one.  – $4
  5. You run barefoot or with those five fingers thingys because it feels better. – $5
  6. You’ve ever discovered a hole in your pants during a fitness class. – $6
  7. You’ve had chaffing near your lady (or man) business – $7
  8. When someone tells you their pace, you calculate their 5k/half marathon/marathon time. – $8
  9. You extend the length of your runs so you can have another beer guilt-free. – $9
  10. You have no problem talking about bodily functions with your training buddies. – $10
  11. You’ve come in first in any race you’ve ever competed in. – $20 (screw you)
  12. You’ve seen one of the following during your swim, bike and/or run training:
    a.) Asian Carp – $10
    b.) mountain lion – $15
    c.) bear – $20
    d.) dog – $1
    3.) frog or turtle – $5

CCFA Fundraising Updates

Thank you soooooooo much! We’ve now raised $2,361.63 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation! EEK! Just about $1500 and we’ll be at my goal of $3800! I’m hoping to reach my goal by May 17 so I can focus on training… so I have a few ways you can join me for some fun and support the cause!

Franky’s Newport (and Patch) April 27, 2010 for 10 Ways to Happy!

I’m teaming up with Tiffany Weber for a fun happy hour in Bay View! Special cocktail menu, raffles and great networking in the heart of Bay View on Logan & Conway!

When: April 27, 2010 from 5:00 p.m. -7:00p.m.

Where: Franky’s Newport

939 E. Conway Street

Bay View, WI 53207

(414) 486-1768

Cost: $10 donation!

CLICK HERE to register and get an extra drawing in our raffle by registering ahead of time! (when you register, make sure you select “other” for who you heard about it from!)

The raffles ROCK… just sayin!

Guest Bartending at AJ Bombers

Head on down to everyone’s favorite Twitter bar for good drinks, great food and P-nut bombs! I’ll be guest-bartending @ajbombers to raise money for The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America through Team Challenge. I’m doing a half marathon in July and need to raise $3800.

I’ll be serving up drinks and selling t-shirts and candy bars.

Oh, and for $5, you can write your twitter name or signature on my shirt that I’ll wear on the plane to California! That way I can bring each of you along for the trip!

When: Friday, April 30, 5:30-9 p.m.

Where: AJ Bombers

1247 N. Water St (corner of Knapp and Water)

Milwaukee, WI

Cost: You decide!

Boot Camp with a Purpose

Boot Camps with a Purpose is led by certified fitness coach Jeremy Belter. He’ll kick our butts into shape!

Don’t worry if you’ve never done a boot camp before or if you’re out of shape. Boot camps are low-impact (meaning little jumping and no running). Strength training and circuits minimize pain and focus on muscle. If I can do this, trust me – anyone can! It’s just 30 minutes of your time, what do you have to lose?

The cost is just $15 for an awesome, kick-butt workout and the money is all donated to Team Challenge. If you can’t make the boot camp but would still like to donate, you can do so online at http://tinyurl.com/napa2010.

Pledge to workout with us 9-10 a.m. May 22. Even if you’re in a different city, you can join us in spirit.

When:  Saturday, May 22, 9-10 a.m.

Where:  Star of Bethlehem Gym

3700 S. Casper Dr.

New Berlin, WI 53151 US

Cost: $15

Spread the word: Let’s Beat Crohn’s and Colitis

I need your help. As you know, I am training for a half marathon to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I’m not asking you for money (but if you’d like to donate, here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/napa2010)… but rather for your help in spreading the word. I know my emails/tweets/facebook/dailymile messages are out of control, but I’m totally freaking out. I have to raise $3800 and if I’m not close by May 17 (re-commitment date) I may not be able to continue with the program. Currently, we have raised $1,811.13. I have 31 days to raise $1,988.87. That means I need to raise an average of $64.16 EACH DAY for the next 31 days.

What’s the big deal with Crohn’s and Colitis? They’re quite literally shitty diseases.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s disease is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. Ulcerative colitis on the other hand, affects only the colon. The inflammation involves the entire rectum and extends up the colon in a continuous manner. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine. In contrast, such so-called “skip” areas may occur in Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

I have three family members with either one or both of these diseases. When I was 20 years old, I had a colonoscopy because my doctors thought I, too, had Ulcerative Colitis. There is a strong possibility I could be diagnosed with the disease in the next 15 years (most people are diagnosed in their 30s).

I already have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and am scared of the possibility of developing this crappy disease. I hope that if I am every diagnosed, there is already a cure in place because I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to live with. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to have a raw ass for the rest of my life because of constant diarrhea.

Can you help me find 76 people to donate $2/mile ($26.20)? With your help, we CAN find a cure.

What am I asking of you? Please spread the word.

  • Tweet: @amykant is running a half marathon to #beatcrohns. Help us find a cure! #pushamy http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Tweet: Help rid the world of IBD: Donate now to #beatcrohns #beatcolitis http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Tweet: Save a tree! Help reduce the use of toilet paper! #beatcrohns #beatcolitis http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Tweet: Save a colon! Support @amykant’s quest to raise $3800 and run a half marathon to #beatcrohns http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Facebook: My friend Amy Kant is training for a half marathon to help find a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Can you spare $2/mile ($26.20) to find a cure? http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Facebook or Tweet: Save an ass, save a life. Help find a cure for Crohn’s and Colitis. http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Facebook or Tweet: Spare a square? Help find a cure for crappy Crohn’s and Colitis http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Facebook or Tweet: Help send a child with Crohn’s/Colitis to summer camp http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • TUESDAYS – Facebook or Tweet: For every $ donated today, @amykant will do a crunch. #feeltheburn #tuesdaycrunch http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • TUESDAYS – Facebook or Tweet: Make @amykant feel the burn. $1=1 crunch tonight. #tuesdaycrunch http://tinyurl.com/napa2010
  • Send an e-mail to family, friends and coworkers. Copy this blog post and send away! Why not send a forward that could actually help save a life? So many times forwards pose threats of bad luck, hoaxes or useless jokes, photos and sayings. This e-mail has the potential to save a life.
  • Blog about it. Even a post as simple as “My friend Amy Kant is training to run a half marathon to raise money and awareness of Crohn’s and Colitis. Please check out her fundraising site and consider donating $1/mile ($13.10). I know you can spare 3 Starbucks lattes this week to help find a cure for these crappy diseases. http://tinyurl.com/napa2010

These are just a few ideas. Thank you for your help, your support, your encouragement and especially your love. I am on this journey because of you.

I’m losing it for a good cause

When I first began this journey, I decided that my first big challenge would be running a 5k in 2010. I decided my first race would be the Storm the Bastille in July here in Milwaukee. Then, my friend Anne told me about her new job, coaching for Team Challenge. Color me intrigued.

Three weeks into my journey to get healthy, I pushed myself to walk for 2 hours and 5.6 miles on a treadmill, without any training. If I could do that after just weeks of exercise, surely I could run a 5k this year, right?

Well, I did some research about Team Challenge and talked with Anne more about the program. I realized that Team Challenge raises money for Crohn’s and Colitis research. My grandmother battled ulcerative colitis for more than two decades. My godmother has suffered from colitis for as long as I can remember. My uncle has battled both diseases for years.

What’s that saying, “Go big or go home?” Well, I’m going big.

Today I made it official. I’m doing a half-marathon in 160 days. I’m planning to walk it, but if my training goes as I hope it will, I will be running and walking the Wine Country Half Marathon from Napa to Sonoma July 18, 2010.

I will be blogging about my training here at Losing it, as well as documenting all my exercising at DailyMile.

Now, there is a catch with this training program (did I mention Anne will be my COACH?). I have to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research. My goal is to raise $3800 by July 1, 2010. If you are so inclined, I would be honored to have you be a sponsor! You can learn more by clicking on this link or the image below.