My name is Rohit and I am 20 years old. Right now, I am a rising junior majoring in Genetics with a Certificate Program in Computational Genetics at an Honors College in New Jersey. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2016. One interesting thing about me is that I'm the only one above 6 feet (actual height: 6' 2") in my entire immediate family!

I think one of the greatest struggles I have faced, and continue to face, with a chronic illness like Crohn's is keeping an optimistic mindset. The disease can be both mentally and physically draining, which is difficult for me and my loved ones to cope with at times. Throughout the journey, I have learned that no matter what obstacle is thrown at me, I have a relentless drive to persist and sometimes all I need is to do is find a way to believe in myself or be optimistic no matter how hard that can be.

Being active and talking openly about my struggles are two ways I have found to improve my optimism and confidence in myself. Before Crohn's I was largely very inactive, but ever since my diagnosis I have committed to playing basketball regularly and practicing yoga daily. In addition, talking things out with my family, best friends, and loved ones whenever I am down, upset, or have stuff to vent about really helps with mitigating anxiety and worries.

One of the main reasons why I came to the ImproveCareNow (ICN) network is that Crohn's has shaped my career path. I am optimistic about dealing with such a chronic illness because I believe that it was, and is, a blessing in disguise. In high school I volunteered at a hospital and, as a future doctor, I was able to see how the balance of service and research molds the profession of medicine. But as a patient, I was also able to witness firsthand how groundbreaking innovation in diagnosis and treatment can advance medicine to treat complex and idiopathic illnesses like Crohn's.

I had recently gotten involved in the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, as I am restarting a chapter on my campus, when I was looking for more ways to be involved in IBD advocacy. I connected with ICN and learned they also had a Patient Advisory Council (PAC) with peers just like me. I am now excited to be part of and learn from such an enthusiastic group who cares about bettering the patient care experience for those with IBD and chronic illnesses. I am very much inspired by the PAC’s work, such as the various toolkits and resources they have created. In terms of my goals with the PAC and ICN, I aim to learn to become a better advocate and work towards educating the IBD community.


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