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Camp Oasis: Life-Long Memories

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If I knew then what I know now, going away to camp would be a whole different story. I was never one who liked being away from home-especially at night. The thought of being far away from home (in a completely different state mind you) and spending the night not in my bed was completely out of the question. I was not going to leave the comfort and security of my own home. Oh, how I wish I would have convinced myself to participate sooner.

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If You Can’t Be First

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When I first started running in elementary school, I ran a bit like an ostrich: neck out, arms flailing. My legs were incredibly adept at kicking my butt; let's call that a sign of things to come? I laugh now, but I really took it in stride then. I had a mantra: If you can't be first, be last.

My friend is sick. She has been for a few months now, though we've only recently started talking about it. She has pain that leaves her crunched over her legs, nausea that sours her food, and a troubling relationship with toilets. Familiar, right? But here's the catch: she doesn't have IBD.

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What makes a good public restroom from an IBD patient’s perspective

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As a patient with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, visiting public restrooms is an incredibly regular activity. Such a regular activity, in fact, that I have — on more than one occasion — considered making a photo-series of all of the restrooms I’ve visited (check this one out though, it’s pretty cool - https://tinyurl.com/ya6mbj7k). Over the course of my many excursions to public restrooms, however, I’ve managed to compile a list of characteristics that make them an absolute pleasure to visit. Here's the list:

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Ulcerative colitis helped me discover my love of medicine

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Hello! My name is Taylor Heppner. I am 22 years old (23 on September 25th) and I’m secretly a Harry Potter fan (but shhhhh, I don’t want anyone to know!) I go to the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa. I'll graduate with my Bachelors of Science in May 2018. I am studying Human Health Science with the hope of being accepted into a Physician Assistant Graduate Program! I love medicine and would love to help others in any way I can.

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To Scarlet

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This summer marks the six-year anniversary of the beginning of my role as a caregiver for a child with a chronic illness. At times, my daughter’s diagnosis seems so close – and yet so far away. In those six years, she has blossomed from a child into a beautiful young woman. Today she can speak with authority about her care, her medications and her routines. Six years ago, she couldn’t pronounce her medications - let alone tell you the dosing.

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The effect Crohn’s has had on my social life

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Hi, I'm Ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee). I'm 15 years old and attend school at Mount Mansfield Union High School. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in August of 2016. One thing most people don't know about me is that other than Crohn’s, I used to have a decently large strawberry hemangioma (basically a collection of fat and tissue). It was harmless, but it made me bite my lip a lot, so I had it removed when I was nine.

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This is the story of our lives as IBD patients

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Note: As a patient advocate, I wrote this article to raise awareness (not to make anyone feel badly). So please read it with an open mind and I hope you enjoy!

Living with IBD is very challenging. It’s hard work managing a chronic condition 24/7/365 – but somehow, we do it! We never give up, because we are stronger than IBD.

I believe that all my fellow IBD friends will agree with me on this list of concerns that we face:

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Project WOW 2.0

It is difficult to understand what it’s like to live with an ostomy, or counsel someone on what to expect, if you’ve never had one yourself. With this challenge in mind my son Tyler and I created Project WOW (Wear an Ostomy for the Weekend) and offered it to attendees at the Fall 2015 ImproveCareNow Community Conference, with the goal of helping people gain some perspective by “walking in patients’ shoes” for the weekend. Recently, at the Spring 2017 Community Conference, we offered Project WOW again, with a few new twists.

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Crohn’s is hard to accept

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My name is Sydney, and I'm 17 years old. I go to St. Pius X Catholic High School in Atlanta, Georgia. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease just this March. I am a triplet, with two triplet sisters, and I also have a younger brother.

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Working Together to ImproveCareNow: An Example of Research Co-Production

In ImproveCareNow there is a saying (there are many, actually) that goes: “we’re building the bike as we’re riding it.” This feels especially true with research co-production because as our team has been working to create the infrastructure, tools and support necessary for research co—production to happen in ImproveCareNow, we’re aware that it’s actually already happening.

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