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Thirteen-year-old Mineral City resident Colton Lake is motivating the local community to find cures by participating in the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's Akron Take Steps Walk. This year's walk takes place on Oct. 7 at Lock 3 Park.
Colton is living with Crohn's disease, which combined with ulcerative colitis are painful, debilitating digestive diseases affecting more than 1.6 million American adults and children, including an estimated 80,000 patients under the age of 18.
After 13 day of tests at Akron Children's Hospital, Colton was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in January 2014, when he was 10 years old. He was then prescribed lots of medication including Imuran, Delzicol, Omeprazole and Prednisone. When Colton went back to school, he was worried that kids were going to make fun of him when they found out his diagnosis and because he had put on weight from the medicines. One thing that really helped him ease back into school was a book his third grade teacher gave him called "It's Okay to Be Different" By Todd Parr. After many more tests, including swallowing a pill camera, Colton's diagnosis was changed to Crohn's disease and on August 21, 2014 he started biologic infusions and has been in remission since.
"If it wasn't for all the support from my family and friends, I think I would have struggled more," says Colton. "When I was first diagnosed, I asked myself 'why was I given this disease?', but now I realize I was given this disease because I can handle it. I have learned over time that if I am struggling with problems, I have to keep pushing forward and make the best of every situation.
"Since we began walking in 2014, my amazing family and friends have been huge supporters. Last year we were one of the top fundraising teams in our area for the Akron Take Steps walk. This year I am striving to raise $5,000, which will put my fundraising over $10,000 since we started. These funds help with research towards finding a cure."
The Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis Walk is the nation's largest event dedicated to finding cures and raising awareness for digestive diseases. The walks offer an incredible day for family, friends and the community to celebrate all of the efforts that have been put forth in raising funds. More than 40,000 peopled walked for cures last year, raising more than $10 million for mission-critical research and patient support programs.
To make a donation in support of this worthy cause, visit Colton's page at http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/TakeSteps/Chapter-NortheastOhio?px=3109460&pg=personal&fr_id=7099.