Maggie Baldwin, 18 – Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Online Educator, Volunteer, Future Nurse
Maggie's very active life at Lenape High School in Medford, New Jersey came to an
abrupt stop when she was hospitalized for emergency surgery for Crohn's disease.
She emerged from the experience a changed person, inspired by the healthcare professionals
who helped her. Since then, Maggie has become a devoted fundraiser for the Crohn's
and Colitis Foundation of America and has developed her own YouTube channel, "LetsTalkIBD,"
to show others how to live with Crohn's disease. "Each message and each comment
makes me feel as though I am truly helping another get past the obstacles of this
disease," Maggie explains. Helping others battle Crohn's has improved Maggie's
own health and outlook, and she looks forward to continuing a life defined by caregiving
by studying nursing at Salisbury University.
Emma Belli, 23 – West Grove, Pennsylvania
Undeterred Student, Volunteer, Future Film and TV Producer
Emma was attending high school in Gothenburg, Sweden, when she was diagnosed with
Crohn's disease. In her second year of college at Boston University (BU), she had
to leave school for intensive treatment. Leaving school was a big disappointment,
but Emma worked hard and is now back at BU where she maintains a strong GPA. Emma
says her strategy is time management, which allows her to be involved in activities
and to stay on top of coursework. She also believes that maintaining a circle of
support is essential. "The pressure of my illness caused some of my relationships
to crumble, but others were strengthened. I learned how strong my support system
truly is, and how resilient I am," she says. Emma volunteers for the Crohn's
and Colitis Foundation of America's Take Steps Walk, and has raised over $10,000
for research. She is currently doing a BU Film and TV program in Los Angeles where
she is taking classes and has two internships. This summer, she went on vacation
with her family and swam with dolphins, something she has wanted to do since she
was diagnosed. Emma is grateful for every opportunity and plans to one day become
a television and film producer.
Nicholas Blackburn, 18 – Glendale, California
Fundraiser, Educator, Future Business Leader
When Nick was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 11, he did not allow the disease
to hijack his life. Nick endured a lot of teasing in middle school because of the
physical effects of the steroid that he was taking. But at the beginning of high
school, Nick's math teacher encouraged him to open up and talk about his disease.
Nick began to discuss Crohn's with his classmates, convincing them to open their
minds to his experience. They also opened their wallets, and Nick managed to raise
more than $10,000 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's annual walkathons
over his 4 years at the school. His grades and self-confidence improved too, and
he graduated with a 4.3 GPA. The success of his fundraising days has pointed the
way for Nick, and he plans to study business economics at UCLA. He aspires to become
a super-investor like Warren Buffett.
Sarah Blahovec, 18 – Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Violinist, Volunteer for Children, Future International Relations Professional
Sarah has lived with Crohn's disease and other health challenges since age 15, but
that hasn't stopped her from maintaining a 4.0 GPA through the online Pennsylvania
Cyber Charter School. Once a promising violinist, the stress of rehearsals and other
activities became a burden and Sarah's violin teacher advised her to quit music.
"I left my final lesson with that teacher with one goal in mind: to show the
world that I can achieve my dreams and become a success at whatever I choose,"
Sarah recalls. Today, she still plays violin, has completed 12 college-level credits
and volunteers to help needy children. She also earned the highest award in Girl
Scouting, the Gold Award, for a project that provided children in foster care with
backpacks filled with the essential items to help ease transitions into new homes.
Sarah is excited about attending American University and hopes to pursue a career
in international relations where she can continue to help others.
Lorna Campbell, 28 – Riverside, Illinois
Medical Student Who Learns From Her Own Experiences
By her senior year at Oberlin College, Lorna had developed a deep interest in medical
science. She was volunteering full time with AmeriCorps as a medical translator
and social worker for Hispanic immigrants at La Clìnica Mèdica de Langley Park.
Then she found herself in the middle of her own health crisis—a multi-year ordeal
of misdiagnoses, treatment complications, and recurrent symptoms that were finally
diagnosed as Crohn's disease. Still, she was able to maintain the exhausting pace
of medical school, internship, and studying for board exams while receiving infusions.
Lorna looks forward to using what she's learned from Crohn's to help her as a physician.
"The fact that my journey with Crohn's disease has been complicated has given
me a lot of personal insights into the different experiences of being a patient.
That will be a huge asset in understanding and supporting my patients," Lorna
Arianna Cubito, 18 – Fayetteville, Georgia
Champion Cheerleader, Student Council Member, Future Surgeon
Arianna was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 5. She remembers thinking, "If
I let myself fall victim to a challenge like this set forth by God, I would fail
him in the plans he had for me." She has succeeded in meeting that challenge
as a competitive cheerleader while juggling schoolwork, chorus, dance team, and
student council. In fact, she convinced her doctor to delay a major procedure so
that she could take part in national competitions—and Arianna's team won. Injuries
kept her from competing the following year, but Arianna traveled with her team and
cheered them on from the sidelines. Arianna now looks forward to facing the challenges
of pre-med studies at Auburn University in Alabama and plans to become a surgeon
so she can give others the chance to realize their potential.
Jacob Esmael, 19 – Elk Grove Village, Illinois
All-around Athlete, National Honor Society Student, Future Engineer
Jacob has lived with the persistent and painful symptoms of Crohn's disease since
he was 11 years old and has learned to work around life's occasional interruptions.
Despite flares that have caused him to miss school and lose weight, Jacob is a gifted
athlete, excelling at roller hockey, football, and his true love—baseball. Jacob
explains, "When we sat down with my doctor to discuss Crohn's medications,
all I could think of was getting to my first out-of-town baseball tournament."
He has learned to deal with treatment first and baseball second, and has even adjusted
his approach to the game, working the scoreboard for his local district games when
his Crohn's is active. Although he has had to work to make up class time lost to
illness, Jacob has maintained his honor roll academic record, earned his coveted
learner's permit, and helped to raise money for underprivileged children in his
area. Crohn's continues to interrupt occasionally, but Jacob's is confident that
his current goals—baseball team tryouts and getting into the best engineering school
possible—will be met in good time.
Emily Evers, 22 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Environmental Scientist, Community Volunteer
Emily was diagnosed with Crohn's disease a week before she began her sophomore year
at Michigan State University. She went forward with her fall semester, delaying
surgery until her winter break that year. The experience sparked an interest in
healthcare, and she began to take pre-nursing courses in addition to her major and
first love—environment science and policy. Now a senior, Emily balances both interests
by volunteering at a local hospice and Habitat for Humanity while also working with
the Sierra Club. She also gives back to the Crohn's community by working with first-year
med students to give them a patient's perspective on physician–patient communications.
"I'm able to influence these new med students on their journey, and hopefully
help them be better physicians in the future," Emily says.
Kelly Farmer, 29 – Brookeville, Maryland
Witty Optimist, Fundraiser, Volunteer
Kelly was diagnosed with Crohn's disease just before she turned 21. After a prolonged
cycle of flares that ended with an ileostomy, she found comfort in working with
others who are living with Crohn's. She organized a team for the Crohn's and Colitis
Foundation of America walkathon, Take Steps, and has raised more than $7,000 to
date. Kelly has also turned her communications skills to supporting the Crohn's
community. She chairs the Take Steps PR/marketing committee, speaking on Crohn's
issues to patient groups and conducting TV interviews. Kelly is active in regional
ostomy organizations and plans to complete hospital visitation training and start
an ostomy support group in Savannah, Georgia. Last year, Kelly was accepted to the
Savannah College of Art and Design where she intends to pursue a master of fine
arts degree in graphic design. With this ahead, Kelly reminds herself, "Diseases
like mine are always a looming force, but I've learned to push forward and let my
dreams do the driving—not my disease."
Kaitlin Fincher, 29 – Decatur, Georgia
Self-Help Teacher, Women's Health Advocate, Environmental Designer
When she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease shortly after graduating from the University of Georgia, Kaitlin knew she had to take control of her health before it derailed her life. She quickly learned how to use exercise and diet to improve her condition, and she felt that she could help others do the same. Soon she was facilitating patient support groups for the Atlanta chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and is now writing a self-help book for young women with Crohn’s. Her commitment to women’s health extends to behavioral research, and she completed a grant-funded research project to discover the beliefs and practices of Bahamian women in relation to breast cancer detection, treatment and prevention. Putting self-help and research together, Kaitlin is studying for her master’s degree at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and plans to use design to develop products and environments to address mental and physical health challenges.
Julian Hartzell, 19 – Riverside, California
Extreme Athlete, Debate Captain, One of "Riverside's 25 Most Remarkable Teens"
Julian has always been fearless in sports, including championship roller hockey,
rock climbing, hiking, paintball, cross-country running, surfing, and snowboarding.
Crohn's disease changed a lot for Julian during his first year at John W. North
High School in Riverside, California, and he reluctantly cut back on his more strenuous
activities. "This was a disheartening and life-altering experience for me,
but it's what gave me the direction for my new life's plan," Julian explains.
Instead of running, he swam; instead of skateboarding, he led the debate team to
a top ranking. As part of the Leadership Camper program at the Crohn's and Colitis
Foundation of America's Camp Oasis, Julian was so moved by helping others overcome
similar limitations that he is focused on a career in healthcare. Julian graduated
in the top 5 percent of his high school class and is now studying microbiology at
the University of California, Riverside, with hopes of becoming a physician, researcher,
or health advocate.
Alexis Jackson, 18 – Shreveport, Louisiana
Dancer, Teacher, "Someone Who Will Make a Difference in the World"
Living with Crohn's disease since age 12 has taught Alexis to never take anything
for granted. "Knowing that at any moment my condition could drastically change
my entire life has made life, and what I desire in it, so much more precious and
beautiful." A dancer for almost 15 years, Alexis accepted that she might have
to work extra hard, but she would not give it up. Alexis also went out of her way
to get the most out of school, tackling advanced placement courses and maintaining
a strong GPA. She is even starting her own volunteer organization, CARE, to help
children with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, because she remembers how frightening
the ordeal can be. Alexis plans to attend Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and
will focus her efforts on what brings her joy: helping others at the local level
as a writer, teacher, or politician.
Monica Johnson, 18 – Allen, Texas
Enthusiastic Dancer, Drill Team Member, College Freshman
Like others in her freshman class at Allen High School in Texas, Monica was filled
with enthusiasm, but she wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. Soccer, golf, gymnastics,
and cheerleading were all in the running until she discovered her passion in a beginning
dance techniques class. From that point on, her heart was set on becoming a dancer
on the school drill team, even though Crohn's disease flares had interrupted her
life since age 5. Crohn's kept her off the team her first year, but Monica trained
even harder, and the following year, despite persistent pain, she was overjoyed
when she finally made the team. Monica is also proud of her honor roll academic
record and the advanced placement credits she is taking with her to college.
Having achieved her dancing dreams, Monica looks forward to her next
set of opportunities. She explains, "I don't look for excuses; I don't live
life as if something is holding me back."
Natalie Kathol, 21 – Yankton, South Dakota
Actress, Camp Counselor, Future Nurse
"For a couple of hours each night, I am living the life of my character, not
the girl with Crohn's disease." This is how Natalie explains her passion for
acting, which has kept her positive and focused since her diagnosis during her freshman
year in high school. This year, she will be a college senior studying nursing at
Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Natalie has played many roles in
her involvement with the Augustana Theater Company, where she has a theater scholarship.
She also plays important roles in Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America programs
like Camp Oasis, where she has served as a cabin counselor and plans to return one
day as a volunteer healthcare professional. Natalie hopes that theater will always
be a part of her life, but she is now focused on helping others with Crohn's. Natalie
plans to become a nurse, which she considers her life's true calling.
Holly Legere, 19 – Bangor, Maine
Driven Dancer, Multi-Tasker, Advocate for Children in Need
Only a few days after leaving the hospital after a 17 day stay, Holly was in full
control of her driver's ed training car and the rest of her life as well. "I
had to push myself to the limits, but learned I can do more than I imagined in the
process," she says. For Holly, recovery from surgery meant schoolwork, dance
class 5 days a week, rock climbing at summer camp, coordinating a dodge ball tournament,
and participating in a "Rock-a-Thon" to raise money for the Crohn's and
Colitis Foundation of America. What keeps her going through busy days is a sense
of gratitude for the doctors and nurses who were such a comfort throughout her childhood
in Bangor, Maine. In fact, this fall she has a full class load at the University
of Maine at Farmington and plans for a career in child life medicine, helping other
children reclaim control of their lives.
Hannah Martin, 25 – Philadelphia, PA
Globetrotting Volunteer and Health Communications Innovator
Diagnosed with Crohn's disease on Christmas day only to lose her father a year later,
Hannah entered adolescence with a sense of loss and hopelessness. "It was not
my finest hour," Hannah recalls. She worked through the sadness by putting
in hard work at school, taking control of her treatment, and working with the Crohn's
and Colitis Foundation of America. In the process, Hannah learned to channel both
her penchant for science and her communications skills into special health communications
projects at New York University. Inspired by coursework she did abroad, Hannah is
now working on a master's degree in public health with a concentration in mental
health at Emory University with the goal of developing a curriculum to help people
recently diagnosed with chronic conditions understand how mental health can affect
their illness. Of her future, Hannah says, "Crohn's is what I have, not who
I am, and I'm determined not only to hold on to that mentality for the rest of my
life but to spread it to others in need as well."
Joe Melenick, 18 – Bay Village, Ohio
Crohn's Fundraiser, Educator Extraordinaire
Before starting seventh grade, Joe was thrown into an aggressive treatment regimen
for Crohn's disease. He realized that his friends were growing distant because of
his condition, so he decided to get them involved in his battle against Crohn's
in an upbeat way. He turned his 13th birthday party into a fundraiser where guests
would learn about Crohn's and bring $5 donations instead of gifts. Five years later,
Joe has raised $50,000. Meanwhile, he discovered that "telling your Crohn's
story can help teach people what Crohn's is about, and help others suffering from
it to feel more comfortable with what they are going through." So Joe began
to speak at patient group meetings and educational events for the Crohn's and Colitis
Foundation of America and is "on call" to mentor newly diagnosed children.
While attending college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Joe will be studying
mechanical engineering in search of the next great tech breakthrough to help the
world, and to raise a few dollars.
Jordan Paden, 18 – Overland Park, Kansas
Champion of Children, Soccer Star, Future Teacher
So much of Jordan's approach to life is guided by her experience receiving intensive
treatment for Crohn's disease at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City when she
was 12. She quickly learned how to be patient with her own health, a lesson that
has helped her through flares and hospital stays ever since. The encouragement she
received from her healthcare team also helped Jordan reclaim her first love, soccer,
which she has played at the premier level in high school, even serving as captain
of the club team. Jordan also realized early on how important it is to care for
others, just as she herself had been cared for. She has volunteered at both the
Ronald McDonald Family Room and local Alzheimer's care programs, but her favorite
volunteer work is with children. After Jordan completes her degree in elementary
education at Kansas State University, she plans to continue to help others in the
spirit of her life-saving experience at Mercy Hospital. "I want to be able
to help children learn and grow with the love and understanding that I have learned
from my teachers, doctors, nurses, family, friends, and church."
Sarah Paulin, 20 – Corona Del Mar, California
Dancer at Heart, Tenacious Optimist in Practice
Sarah fell in love with dance at age 3 and intensified her training at the Orange
County High School of the Arts. When her doctor told her that she had no chance
of remission from Crohn's disease unless she stopped such strenuous activity, Sarah
kept dance in her heart and began to search for a new passion to fill her life.
Despite ongoing health issues, Sarah transferred her dancer's perfectionism to her
academic studies. In addition to maintaining superior grades, she became a star
in the school's mock trial program and worked extensively with Campus Ministry and
student government. Sarah explains, "Crohn's does not own me. It has taught
me to push through anything." In fact, she discovered her life's calling while
volunteering to help children with rheumatic disease and IBD. She is currently studying
business administration at the University of Southern California, preparing for
a career in international business.
Cody Rheault, 19 – Redmond, Oregon
Would-be Air Force Pilot "Serves Here on the Ground" Instead
Small for his age and often sick, Cody was not deterred from developing a detailed
and heroic plan for his own life: ROTC, a degree in aeronautics, and then straight
to a career flying AC-130's for the US Air Force. When Crohn's disease slowed him
down in high school, Cody had to "stand back, take a look, pull myself up by
my bootstraps, and find some good in it all." Despite a stretch of home schooling
and bullying when he returned to school, Cody earned the highest rank in his Junior
ROTC program. He also discovered an alternative way to satisfy his lifelong calling
to protect others: emergency medical services and fire department service. Now at
Central Oregon Community College and still fighting Crohn's, Cody looks forward
to excitement and honor in the years of service ahead.
Michael Sharkey, 18 – Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
Fearless Camp Counselor and Future Pediatrician
"I was a very scared little boy when I was diagnosed with Crohn's in elementary
school in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey," recalls Michael. Things didn't get
much better, despite a caring pediatrician and supportive parents. School was overwhelming,
and his disease became more complicated over time. After a rough week of being separated
from his family for the first time at the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's
Camp Oasis, Michael could not imagine life without fear. But the following summer
something pushed Michael to try again, and he began a long-term relationship with
Camp Oasis, eventually becoming one of the youngest leader-in-training counselors.
In this role he was able to calm the fears of new campers and help them see a brighter
future. That experience has stayed with him, and today Michael plans to become a
pediatrician in order to help children live a fuller life by fighting both their
disease and their fears. In fact, he says, "I am no longer scared—I am proud,
I am strong, and I am ready to conquer the world!"
Emily Sharp, 20 – Elkton, Kentucky
Outstanding Academic, International Volunteer
Not only is Emily a self-proclaimed "nerd," she thinks that her Crohn's
disease has helped her become a successful nerd. Diagnosed when she was 9, Emily
focused on academics early on, maintaining honor roll status even when she missed
an entire year of school because of her condition. She went on to be named one of
"Kentucky's Governor Scholars" for her high school academic achievements.
But for Emily, being a successful nerd is more than just getting good grades. She
is a singer, winning third place in the Coca-Cola Talent Classic at last year's
Kentucky State Fair. She has also won creative writing and student marketing awards.
As a volunteer, Emily has helped to pay school costs for Sadie, a girl in rural
Haiti. She also works with orphanages in Honduras and serves as a remote peer instructor
for students at the University of Kentucky. Emily says that she "aspires to
remain a lifelong learner" and will attend the University of Kentucky in Lexington
to study communications.
Madeleine Stallings, 19 – Syracuse, Utah
Student Body VP, National Honor Society Member, Big Sister Extraordinaire
The oldest of 5 children, Madeleine always wants to set a good example for her brothers
and sisters. She planned on maintaining a perfect GPA in high school and setting
a high bar for community service. Crohn's disease interfered during her sophomore
year at Clearfield High School in Utah, and she suddenly had to adjust her ambitions.
Fortunately, Madeleine and her doctors developed a successful treatment plan, and
she was able to work with a school counselor to map out a reasonably paced approach
to classes and extracurricular activities. Her GPA stayed high, giving her time
for student government and volunteer work for the local Crohn's community, including
participating in the CCFA's "Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis" walk.
She also did international volunteer work and raised over $13,000 to fund day care
for a poor rural village in Guatemala—yet another worthy example for her siblings.
Madeleine will study science and mathematics at Brigham Young University in the
fall, making sure to have time to keep an eye on her brothers and sisters.
Marissa Steen, 27 – St. Paul, Minnesota
Lifelong Student of Childhood Development and Advocate Against Sexual Abuse
Marissa was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (CD) at age seven and was able to treat
most of her symptoms over the following years, with the help of her family, friends
and healthcare team. "Today, I can even focus on my life goals," she says.
At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Marissa discovered what she wanted to
do with her life and began a long-term process of learning about the social and
psychological dimensions of childhood development, especially sexual abuse. Marissa
joined AmeriCorps after graduating from college, and worked for two years with prison
inmates. She also helped those recently released from prison overcome an abusive
past. "Working with these individuals just confirmed the importance of understanding
the complexities of sexual abuse and focusing on preventing it," Marissa says.
"I have the health and energy to focus on my main passion in life, and I’m
so grateful for this," she explains.
Shayna Swick, 18 – Niantic, Connecticut
Activist, "Hometown Hero," Future Child Life Specialist
Shayna was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when she was in sixth grade after struggling
through years of untreated pain. Unfortunately, she was not given counseling to
help her deal with the sadness and anger brought about by her suffering. Then Shayna
discovered community service, and through her dedication to it she was able to bring
an end to her own dark times. Her first big fundraising success raised $6,000 for
the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and was such a life-changing
experience that Shayna made it the focus of her bat mitzvah sermon. Since then,
she has led top-earning teams for CCFA's Take Steps walk, helping to raise more
than $13,000 throughout her involvement. She has also provided testimony for CCFA's
advocacy event, IBD Day on the Hill. Inspired by her work mentoring children undergoing
treatment for Crohn's at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Shayna plans to
study human biology at North Carolina State University and become a full-time child
life specialist. She looks forward to drawing on her own experience to help even
more children live fuller lives with Crohn's.
Shawn Tuteja, 18 – Birmingham, Alabama
Tennis Aficionado, Eagle Scout, Future Engineer
Shawn is a master of adaptation. He never wanted anything more than to play college
tennis, but as his Crohn's disease progressed, this dream faded. So Shawn changed
his game plan. Rather than turning his back on the sport completely, he started
teaching tennis to underprivileged children in and around Birmingham. He also helped
a local high school start its first tennis team, organized tennis racket drives,
and led his high school varsity team to victory in its first state championship.
Redirecting his love of tennis also gave Shawn the confidence to try new things,
and today he is an Eagle Scout and award-winning debater—accomplishments that had
never occurred to him in his early tennis-obsessed days. He continues to expand
his prospects for success and is looking forward to freshman year at Stanford University,
where he will study to become an aeronautical or mechanical engineer.
Audrey Urquhart, 21 – Shelby, Michigan
Setting an Example for Others by Living Beyond Crohn's
Audrey wouldn't exactly say that living with Crohn's disease is a blessing. But
it has led her to develop a deep understanding of her body and how to help others
living with Crohn's get in better touch with their own bodies. This was Audrey's
inspiration for organizing a student-run support group at the University of Michigan
in Ann Arbor, called the Crohn's and Colitis Student Initiative, which provides
students with support and an open forum. She also serves on a panel that helps medical
students understand what people with Crohn's go through and how to better communicate
with them. Audrey teaches others to "live life to the fullest" by example
and makes it a point to remain as active as possible, marching in her school's band,
participating in her campus church group and mission trips, and serving on her summer
camp counselor program. Now majoring in biology at the University of Michigan, Audrey
plans on becoming a physician, drawing on her life with Crohn's as a source of inspiration
for her patients.
Karissa Venne, 21 – Agawam, Massachusetts
Writer, Volunteer, Chronicler of Crohn's
For almost 10 years, Karissa has lived with Crohn's disease. There is one thing
that helps her through it all: "I have come to deal with Crohn's through poetry
and am grateful for the strength it has given me." That strength has taken
Karissa far. A presidential scholar and dean's list student throughout her years
at the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, Massachusetts, Karissa also
volunteers and raises money for a variety of causes, including the American Cancer
Society's Relay for Life and the Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis program. She
has chaired student government committees and was vice president of the Elms College
Future Teachers Organization. Her writing has been published in her college literary
magazine and on CollegeFashion.com, and Karissa also uses her Take Steps Facebook
page, Karissa and Laura's Fabulous Friends, to celebrate people coping
with Crohn's and other chronic conditions. Karissa explains that she lives "without
worries or complaints, because now, Crohn's is my anchor, not my cage." With
that kind of inspiration on her side, Karissa plans to continue her studies in English
in order to help others through teaching, writing, and volunteer work.
Camille Wiseman, 18 – Seattle, Washington
Community Volunteer, Sports Enthusiast, Aspiring Psychologist
After her Crohn's disease seemed to put an end to her sports career at Bishop Blanchet
High School in Seattle, Camille discovered a truth that she still believes in today:
"When one door closes, another door opens." Not willing to wait for those
doors to open by themselves, Camille soon joined the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation
of America's Northwest chapter, becoming the chapter's top fundraiser by bringing
in more than $11,000. She even trained for a half-marathon fundraiser and surprised
everyone by completing the race, which stretched between Napa and Sonoma. Camille
has also found fulfillment in volunteer work, helping to rebuild homes in New Orleans
with the program Shirts Across America and working at a soup kitchen there. Camille
now dreams of moving to Ethiopia to open an orphanage. Giving back through community
service has given Camille's life a purpose larger than Crohn's, and she plans to
fulfill that purpose by studying psychology at Gonzaga University and ultimately
working with prison inmates.