For years, Allison Riley was a pretty typical teenager with Crohn’s disease. She was active in her school’s homecoming parade, she played soccer, she hung out with friends, she took life with Crohn’s one step at a time. Then one day, while reading Crohn’sAdvocate magazine , Allison was inspired to help other people with Crohn’s by sharing her story—and we’re all inspired by hearing it.
For as long as she can remember, Allison’s been focused on her goals—not to mention scoring them. If there was a soccer league in her home town of Indianapolis, chances are she was on it, and she even dreamed of playing soccer in college. But for a long time, Allison also hid her Crohn’s diagnosis because she didn’t want her teammates, friends, and family to worry about her or treat her differently.
It was difficult to open up about having Crohn’s disease, Allison says, but only through sharing did she come to realize her own strength. Allison’s using her newfound strength to help as many people as she can: assisting her high school soccer coach, volunteering to help local students stay in school and focus on their own goals, and now trying to break down the stigma surrounding Crohn’s disease.
Realizing she had the support of people around her was a turning point for Allison, and she hopes to be that turning point for others living with Crohn’s. “I’m here to talk about Crohn’s to help people feel more comfortable with themselves…to know that they’re stronger than this disease. Don’t let Crohn’s or anything else stop you from going after your goals.”