Sean is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley, where he is studying business and computer science. Last year, after losing nearly 20 pounds and missing all of his winter finals, Sean decided to use his computer skills and business knowledge to launch Crohnology.com, a Web site that helps people with inflammatory bowel disease manage their disease. The site allows patients to create online virtual medical charts and track their diagnoses, medications, surgeries, procedures, and diets. Despite having to manage flare-ups and the day-to-day duties of overseeing a Web site, Sean has maintained a 3.725 GPA.
A professional singer-songwriter from an early age, Rebecca was diagnosed with Crohn's when she was 11 years old. This was just after she was nearly forced into an eating disorder treatment center with a misdiagnosis of anorexia. In junior high school, Rebecca struggled to meet her own high academic standards while maintaining an active performing schedule. She now composes songs for nonprofit organizations that benefit children with serious illnesses. Rebecca is currently studying at "the college of her dreams," Belmont University, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Throughout his life with Crohn's, Robert has refused to let the condition hold him back. He has taken part in historic US missions in the Philippines and Iraq, participating in both the removal of the Marcos regime and the establishment of the Iraqi Special Tribunals. Robert is a special deputy US marshal, a master SCUBA diver, and an underwater archeologist. After completing a master's certificate in government contracting with a 4.0 GPA, Robert now aims to pursue a master's degree.
After receiving a master's in orchestral performance from Manhattan School of Music, Wesley went on to earn a permanent position with the Albany Symphony. But despite his continued success, Wesley grew tired of the rigors of travel and low pay that come with being a professional musician. He bid farewell to the performing life and enrolled in American University's pre-dental program, where he earned straights A's. He is now attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.
As a Spanish-education major, Emily always knew she would have to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. But despite her excitement, she approached her semester in Segovia, Spain, worrying about maintaining Crohn's treatments in a foreign country. Emily had to deal with a logistical nightmare involving doctors in 2 continents, her university, and her insurance company. Regardless, she still made the most of her experience, and has since worked to help educate others facing similar challenges. Emily is currently attending Bethel University, majoring in Spanish education.
Michelle has maintained an active life as a Crohn's advocate while struggling with her own condition. She feels a strong connection to the nonprofit world, which she credits with giving her strength and support throughout the years. Recently, Michelle helped the CCFA National Youth Leadership Council create a plan for recruiting young adult participants. She hopes to one day run youth support groups or summer camps for ill children. Michelle is majoring in public relations at Northern Arizona University and hopes to pursue a master's degree in social work.
After being diagnosed with Crohn's as a freshman at the University of Virginia, Omar had to receive monthly treatments in the university medical center. Undeterred, he missed only 3 classes in 4 years and graduated at the top of his class. Omar then signed up for the Teach for America Program, where he taught in the District of Columbia public school system and was a finalist for their New Teacher of the Year award. Omar is now pursuing an MBA at University of California, Berkeley, and hopes to one day run his own youth-focused nonprofit.
Attending any college while living with Crohn's can be a challenge, but James is enrolled at the Citadel, where he faces intense physical training on a daily basis. He bravely withstood the daily scrutinizing and discipline that forced 100 of the 700 freshman in his class to drop out before Christmas. James is also a member of the tennis team, adding even more obligations to an intense daily routine, but still managed to achieve Gold Stars—the Citadel's highest academic honor.
A mother of 3, Tocombamaria was diagnosed with Crohn's while going through a divorce. She now works as an outreach worker for a community health center while leading an active life as a Crohn's advocate. Tocombamaria volunteers at the CCFA and is on the Patient and Family Council of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She heads a women's group and teaches Sunday school at her local church. Tocombamaria has a passion for health education and ultimately wants to attend school to become a nurse practitioner.
Libby has always led an active volunteer life. In fact, at the age of 13 she raised $1200 for the CCFA at the backyard carnival she organized. Just 3 months after her ileocectomy, Libby was named the Marching Auxiliaries Senior Solo Twirling Champion of Ohio. On top of her school activities and community service duties, she works 2 part-time jobs. Libby will begin attending Grove City College in the fall, where she plans to study to become a teacher.
Adam chose to attend Tulane University in part to aid in the post-Katrina cleanup efforts. He is a member of the university's premed Society, rowing team, and emergency medical group. Having experienced firsthand the pain from a chronic illness, Adam is proud to work as an emergency medical technician. He has traveled to Ecuador and Honduras on medical mission trips and is planning a future trip to the Dominican Republic. Adam is double majoring in biochemistry and Spanish, carrying an impressive course load, and plans on attending medical school after graduating.
Kelly was forced to abandon her successful belly-dancing career when she had surgery to address her Crohn's. But instead of turning away from her past, Kelly has embraced her life experiences by pursuing a nonfiction-writing career as a memoirist and essayist. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Red Cross and at her local library. Kelly is now a published writer; she hopes to obtain a master of fine arts in creative writing and share her story with a larger audience.
See 2007 Crohn’s Scholarship Recipients