My name is Hayden Russell and in December of 2010, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. To look at me, you probably wouldn’t guess that I have a chronic disease, but I do. However, thankfully the CCFA (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) is working hard to find a cure for my disease and to find new treatments to help make a life with Crohn’s more manageable.

During the fall of 2010, I started getting very sick and lost a lot of weight. I had to spend Christmas in the hospital, missed a lot of schools and had more tests and procedures performed on me than most people have in a lifetime. However through Faith and a Never Give Up attitude, I was still able to get good grades, excel at all my sports and I almost never miss out on having fun with my friends.

Since my original diagnosis, I have not technically been considered in remission, although as of June 2014 I’ve had good blood work and have been feeling pretty good. I’ve had some flare-ups, two surgeries, two more hospital stays, had to changes meds, lots of procedures and doctor appointments and I have to deal with my parents who worry too much. My Crohn’s is considered moderate to severe and I’m hopeful that my current medication will keep me feeling well for a long time.  With Crohn’s, different treatments work for different people.  For me, some of the easy things didn’t work and so today I have to receive infusions every 7 weeks to keep me feeling well. However, with all that said, please know that I am a happy 17-year-old who loves to socialize, play Lacrosse and loves living life to the fullest. Over the past 4 years, even when I’m not feeling well I typically fight through it and try not to miss out on anything. Crohn’s will not control me and as my parents will tell you, I get the most out of every day.

I want a cure, I want more and better treatment options, I want people to be more aware of Crohn’s and what patients go through. However, most important, I want other kids/teens to know that they are not alone and to Never Give Up! We will Persevere!

As you can probably imagine, most people don’t like to bring attention to their Crohn’s, but at the same time I know I have to in order to help others. My Dad, My Aunt and a friend of my Dad’s have all run for me as a part of Team Challenge and CCFA the past few years.  This year my family will continue to raise awareness and raise funds to help me and the million’s of others who have to deal with this disease every day.  Your Love, Prayers, and support mean more to us than you will ever know. ​

Faith – Fight – Persevere