Michael Kelly, Top Pledge Earner, London HNW
My name is Michael and I’m 18 years old. I have had ulcerative colitis since I was one and at 15 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as well. When I was 3, I was taken to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto because I was extremely sick. After spending 6 weeks in the hospital, the doctors decided to remove my large bowel and I was given an ileostomy. My health was pretty good throughout public school. I played sports and did everything all my friends did. At 14, I had an internal pouch created from my small intestine. My incision took months to heal. At the same time I started feeling sick. It was determined at this point that I had Crohn’s disease. This past winter I had to start wearing a hearing aid. I had tubes as a child which a left hole in my eardrum. Since my Crohn’s has continued to be active, the doctors would not operate on me at this time, so using a hearing aid has helped solved the hearing loss issue. At times life can be scary when facing surgeries, medications and the 'unknown', but I feel it has forced me to push myself when I haven't always wanted to.
Being the “gut of the month” and seeing all of the participants at the Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-Thon help me to understand that I am not alone in this battle and that there are many people in my situation. I have been a top pledge earner for the past 2 years and have been the top earner for London for those 2 years, raising upwards of $3000 both years. I have hope that one day a cure will be found for these diseases so that other kids don't have to experience some of the issues I have gone through. That is what makes this walkathon so important to me.