My name is Jake and I’m a senior in high school. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the fall of my junior year. One interesting thing about me is that one day I decided to take up running, so I signed up for the Atlanta marathon. After only a month of training I completed the marathon - this made me really fall in love with the sport!

The greatest struggle of living with Crohn's disease so far has been the process of my diagnosis. I had symptoms for several years leading up to my diagnosis and didn't even think of getting it checked out until the pain became unbearable. Family members in the medical profession became more and more worried about me as I continued to grow, but not put any weight on. The year leading up to my diagnosis, my health really declined as I was starting to lose weight and look physically unhealthy. Even my friends started to notice…that’s when I questioned if something was truly wrong.

After a trip to the doctors, I was told I had a fissure, but my family believed it was more than that. Finally, we had a specialist check me out and diagnose me with Crohn's. With the help of a great doctor I was able to get on the right treatment path and reach a state of remission. This experience taught me that it is okay to seek out the help from others.

Being newly diagnosed with my disease, I don't really know much about Crohn’s, so when I heard there was a network of people my age answering questions, I was eager to join. I believe that the PAC and ImproveCareNow’s research will answer my questions and then some. Networks like these can bring awareness to Crohn's and its symptoms, so others don't have to go so long without a diagnosis – like I did. My goals for being part the PAC are to build a further understanding of my disease and to helpraise awareness for others.

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