BETHALTO — The 2015 Givin’ It All For Guts annual 5K run will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Bethalto City Park to benefit Crohn’s disease research at Washington University under the watchful eye of Dr. Matthew Ciorba.
“Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disorder where the body’s immune system turns on itself,” Givin’ It All For Guts Foundation Director Lisa Loftus said. “When my son was 16, I was thrown into the disease and left to figure a lot of things out on my own when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s. This disease affects the GI tract from mouth to the other end. A person affected by Crohn’s has abscesses, sores and bleeding. It can be very painful.”
Loftus said the disease typically is diagnosed when someone is in their late teens or early 20s. Many people may go undiagnosed or find Crohn’s was hidden by another issue or mistaken for irritable bowl syndrome.
“It was explained to me that it has to do with genetics and that you have to have the gene makeup to be susceptible to the disease,” Loftus said. “Sometimes things can happen like a virus that can cause the body to turn on itself. I thought my son had poor eating habits and he was so skinny. I changed his diet; we didn’t have soda in the home and we tried to promote good health habits to help him. I manipulated the poor kid with fiber and wheat germ, thinking that was the home remedy.”
Treatments for Crohn’s disease consist primarily of oral or intravenous medications. Through the donation made in 2014 by the Givin’ It All For Guts campaign, Ciorba and Washington University were able to gain headway and ultimately qualified for a federal grant to move forward with additional research.
“Our donation was about $5,000 in 2014,” Loftus said. “That may not sound like a lot, but it made a major impact. That amount allowed Dr. Ciorba to take some new steps that have now given him tools to take leaps.”
The group is seeking volunteers to help with the 5K run. The 5K is a timed race, but walkers are welcome to participate. Prizes will be awarded to the top 14 with male, female and age groups. St. Louis Blues tickets are among some of the prizes to be awarded. Teams and individuals are welcome to participate.
Givin’ It All For Guts also has expanded to include a private Facebook group titled Livin’ It All With Guts. The page is designed for individuals and families who know someone with Crohn’s disease and have questions.
“It’s almost like a support group where people can ask questions,” Loftus said. “We’ve dealt with this disease through my son for almost 12 years and I’ve learned new methods and options to try to help him with comfort issues, thanks to this page. It’s a great place for people to talk to those who have been there and maybe gone through some trial and error.”
Anyone interested in participating in the 5K can register online at www.givinitallforguts.org. The entry fee is $30 and all participants will receive a T-shirt and a backpack bag.
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