Every week will recognize a special young athlete, both here and on social media, battling IBD and refusing to let their disease hold them back from reaching their goals both on and off the field/court.
Have an athlete that you would like to nominate for Teammate of the Week?
Send us an email with a brief story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Angie from Deltona, FL! Diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 15, she is now 19
and killing it on the court as a college basketball player! Check out Angie’s story, in her own words, below:
“My name is Angelina Shalkowitz (Angie) and I’m 19 years old from Deltona, Florida. I was diagnosed with
Crohn’s disease at age 15. At the time of my diagnosis, I was very sick and already had lost a significant amount
of weight. After many hospitalizations due to flare ups/bowel obstructions and having 4 endoscopy/
colonoscopys done, my PED GI then diagnosed me with Crohn’s disease. My PED GI prescribed me different
medications that worked for a short time then became unsuccessful. I was still in and out of the hospital and
having aches and pains. My GI then decided to prescribe me a biologic, HUMIRA. I’m still working hard to
get into remission with a good diet and remaining on the right medication.
Growing up I played a variety of sports but fell in love with basketball and I didn’t let anything stop me, not even
my diagnosis. I’ve earned many awards from basketball including MVP, 2x offensive player of the year, scholarships,
and was an honorable mention in the DBNJ (Daytona Beach News Journal.) I now attend Aurora University to further
my academics and athletics in basketball. I study sociology and psychology and plan to become a social worker.
My mother and friends have always been by my side supporting me through it all! Some days are easy and some are hard
but what matters the most is we move ahead one step at a time and trust the process, remission is soon to come!”
You are a star, Angie – thank you for sharing your story, and good luck this season!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Dylan from New York! We had the pleasure of meeting Dylan at our annual
Noah’s Crohnies suite night at Madison Square Garden!
Dylan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 11, and is now 14. He was misdiagnosed for about a year – he
lost a significant amount of weight, suffered from bad headaches, and was just exhausted all the time. He finally
ended up in the ER and started Remicade infusions. Since then, there have been a few hiccups, but Dylan’s
a fighter and he never let the disease stop him!
Academically, Dylan always excelled in school. He will head off to high school this fall with academic scholarships!
Dylan also loves sports – whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, etc. 10 years ago, his dad got him following
his footsteps into the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He had his first competition in June, and he took home the
gold – with an arm bar submission having his opponent tap out! Dylan never ceases to amaze his family, and
they are so proud of him!
Stay strong and keep fighting, Dylan!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Madeline from Pittsburgh, PA!
Nominated by her supportive mother Wendy, Madeline was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was
7 years old. Over the last 11 years, she has not responded to standard maintenance therapy, so she has endured
multiple bouts of steroids, partial enteral nutrition (PEN), and a cocktail of four antibiotics for acute severe colitis.
In between use of rescue therapy, she is often flaring. Despite this and several co-conditions (arthralgia,
hypermobility syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, allergies and anemia,) Madeline has excelled as an athlete,
playing on a travel soccer team since age 8, and running cross country since age 11.
Madeline recently played in her final U19 soccer game, and she graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School as
a valedictorian. She will attend the University of Pittsburgh Honors College to study nutrition and dietetics.
Madeline has followed a modified version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since middle school, and while the
diet didn’t induce remission, she attributes it to greatly improving her health, allowing her to stay active.
Way to go, Madeline – you are an inspiration to all!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Mikayla from Alexandria, VA!
Mikayla, aka KK, was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 4 – she is now 11 years old. Her parents knew something
was wrong when she couldn’t run on the soccer field and keep up with the other kids. She lives by the motto
that Crohn’s is a part of her, but doesn’t define her!
Mikayla has been through a whole host of treatments – initially, she started on 6MP and a handful of other oral
medications and they worked for a year. Under the care of providers at Johns Hopkins, she started on other oral
medications and quickly moved to Humira. At the age of 9, she was doing her own injections. She failed the
Humira and was quickly losing weight, which was impacting her overall health. Her parents decided to get a
second opinion with Dr. Dubinsky at Mt. Sinai (same Dr. as Noah!) which turned into moving Mikayla completely
under her care. Soon after that visit, she started Remicade and while successful for a period of time, it didn’t
completely help her. There was still 10% of her colon not responding – so she was switched Stelara and it has
been successful so far!
Outside of her Crohn’s, she plays travel soccer and competitively swims. She has never missed a meet, practice
or game despite everything going on – she always powers through! Currently, she is swimming two days a week
(her best strokes are backstroke and freestyle) and playing soccer four days a week. When she was 6, she made
the All-Star meet for her summer league. This year if her birthday was 2 days later, she would have made the
Junior Olympics in the 50 backstroke. In soccer, she has bounced among teams but always seems to shine as
a leader and play her striker role to the best of her ability.
When she isn’t in the pool or soccer field, she is working hard at school to achieve above-average grades,
participate in student council, go to Hebrew School, and be a good role model for her brothers, Josh and Zach.
Keep inspiring, Mikayla – you are a rock star!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Seth from Kalamazoo, Michigan!
Now 19, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 14. Seth hasn’t always been as powerful and strong as
he shows in this picture – he was very sick at the time of his diagnosis and had lost a significant amount of
weight. His doctors were very concerned by this, and immediately began infusion therapy. Luckily, he has been
in remission ever since!
Playing many sports growing up, Seth eventually developed a passion for Olympic weightlifting. He has earned
many honors, including top youth in the state and 3rd overall in the youth nationals competition! After high school,
Seth plans to attend college and begin studying to become a nurse. His family and friends are very proud of him,
and we are so inspired by his refusal to let Crohn’s stop him!!
Way to go, Seth!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Preston from Juneau, Alaska! Nominated by his loving mother, father,
and sister, Preston has been battling Crohn’s Disease for 4 years. Check out his nomination letter below:
“Living in Alaska made getting a diagnosis extremely difficult. Months of fighting with doctors and losing 30 pounds
in a month, Preston was finally diagnosed in Seattle. His father, Shawn, also has Crohn’s Disease (diagnosed at
the age of 16.) They share a special bond, both being Crohnies and their love of baseball. Preston is currently taking
Humira every other week and is in remission. We owe so much to his Seattle doctor for getting us a correct
diagnosis and starting Preston on his path to remission.
Even when Preston was very sick, he still managed to keep a smile on his face, go to school every day, and achieve
straight A’s. COVID shut down the 2020 Juneau Baseball season, but that did not stop Preston’s determination
to work harder and get stronger for the 2021 season, and that work ethic proved to pay off! This year’s highlight
started off during Sitka’s Invitational Round-Robin Tournament, where Preston threw the first no-hitter in the history
of the Thunder Mountain High School baseball program, in a 5-0 win over our home team rival, the Juneau-Douglas
High School Bears.
He has never once used his disease as an excuse. He works hard, puts in the effort and is a well rounded teenager.
He’s a supportive teammate both on and off the field. He is also a team captain for his high school team! His
future plans are to attend college (undecided) and hopefully play baseball at the college level. Preston – We love you,
and are so proud of the amazing person you are becoming. Great things will happen for you, keep up the hard work.”
Your family is right, Preston – great things will absolutely happen for you… we believe in you and are thrilled to
have you on our team vs. IBD!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is a very special member of the AVC family – Joshua from NYC!
We had the pleasure of meeting Josh at our very first suite night in 2017, and he and his family have been a key
part of the AVC team ever since! Joshua was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease soon after his 8th birthday.
In the over 5 years since then, he has tried all sorts of medications, 3 types of biologics, had all the now “routine”
scopes, blood work, ultrasounds and follow-ups with other medical specialists. He is currently feeling well while
taking daily medications as well as monthly injections. As of the moment, he is in a healthy place thanks to his
friends, family, teammates, coaches and physicians.
While being a Crohn’s patient, he has also managed to be in the honor society, play for championship basketball
and flag football teams, as well as being named the MVP! He is a leader both on and off the field, as he was recently
honored as the NYC Take Steps Pediatric Honored Hero for 2021 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
He previously won an opportunity to host a charity event in which he chose to have the proceeds donated to AVC!
We couldn’t be more proud of the young man Joshua is growing up to be – a strong student, patient, advocate and friend.
Keep up the amazing work, Joshua!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Ashley from Lake Villa, IL!
Nominated by her loving parents, Ashley was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 11 after suffering from joint
pain, fevers, anemia and weight loss. Ashley battled through various treatments for 2 years before finding
the right medicine to achieve remission. She has attended @crohnscolitisfoundation Camp Oasis every summer
since her diagnosis, even serving as a leader in training counselors for the younger campers last summer.
Ashley was honored to be the special guest speaker at 2018 at the Illinois CCFA Gala.
Playing soccer since she was 5, Ashley has played at the club level for many years and has been a member of
her high school soccer team for four years. She has worked hard to stay strong and play through pain when having
a bad Crohn’s day. Her perseverance has paid off – she is both a starter and captain of both her club and
high school soccer teams this year!
Ashley is graduating from Warren Township High School magna cum laude this May. She plans to attend Butler
University Fall of 2021 to study Health Science on the pre-med track. Her dream is to be a pediatric
Gastroenterologist so she can help kids because she understands what it is like to have IBD. Ashley has shown an
inner strength and determination that makes her family and friends very proud!
Congratulations and best of luck, Ashley!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek John from Owensboro, KY!
Known to his friends and family as JW, he is 17 years old and was diagnosed with Colitis 2 years ago. His journey
with IBD has not been an easy one – he started with Humira injections every 2 weeks with no improvement and
then went to weekly injections, which were ineffective. In October, JW changed to a new doctor and started
Entyvio infusions – what a great move it was!! Through it all, JW never complained and always stayed positive!
A great baseball player, JW has a great swing and works out several days a week to prepare for next season.
Off the field, he stands out as well – he earns stellar grades in school and always has a great attitude!
Keep up the good work, JW – the future is bright for you!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is DeWitt from Texas! A student-athlete on the track team at Texas A&M,
he is a true inspiration and such a strong role model for other kids battling IBD. Check out his raw,
honest, and powerful words below:
“My name is DeWitt Thomas, I’m from Kingwood Texas, and I’m currently a 400 hurdler at Texas A&M University.
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis late summer of 2014. Unfortunately, symptoms started months before,
in April, as I was too afraid to describe what I was going through to anyone. After almost three months filled
with confusion, sadness, stomach pains, weight loss, bloody stools, and complete destruction of self-confidence,
I came out the other side with a diagnosis. I was broken after being stripped of all physical, mental, and emotional
energy. I was a scared, weak kid joining one of the most prestigious track programs in the country wondering if
I could ever return to what I was.
I struggled for five years, being on and off the track and having seasons cut short due to flare-ups. I was changing
medicines the whole time, trying to find the right balance that would give me relief and let me live the life I wanted
to live, a “normal” life. After 5 long years, I finally made the switch to biological treatment. Five long years, I had
patiently waited to prove I could still be who I knew I could be. After five long years—my dreams finally came true.
Those years spent in hatred and sorrow were also spent in optimism and regrowth. Even after all my failures, I
was still able to rebuild my dismantled confidence brick by brick. With the support of friends, family, and coaches
I was able to recapture that spark of magic that got me on the Texas A&M Track and Field Team. In 2019 everything
clicked, I became a First Team All-American and was a part of the Outdoor National Championship 4×400 team.
I used to hate the world for the curse it gifted me. It consumed me for some time, and it was easy to play the victim.
But as I grew older, my optimism got the best of me. Gradually, I began to take back the reins of my own fate.
This curse allowed me to grow into the person I could only hope for. Hardships and failures shaped who I am today,
I am thankful for the opportunity this disease has gifted me.
As I’ve explained this, you might believe that the weight of this disease has become lighter, making my journey
much more pleasurable. Although I wish it was so, the unfortunate truth is that the weight has always stayed
the same, it is only that the bearer of that weight has become stronger. As I reflect, I can proudly say I’ve
become the person I’ve always dreamed of being, a person for a younger DeWitt to look up to. A person who
has become a pillar—one that has found equilibrium physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
Best of luck in all that you do, DeWitt – we have no doubt that you will go far!
Another AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Audrey from Minnesota! A future college swimmer, Audrey is an
inspiration both in and out of the pool! Check out her bio below:
“Hi! I’m Audrey from St. Paul, MN. I am a senior in high school and I committed to swim D1 at the University of
St. Thomas next year! My favorite events are the 100 and 200 Butterfly and the 400 IM. I was diagnosed with
UC after 3 years of chronic stomach pain, nuclear scans, ultrasounds, endoscopies, and endless doctor
appointments. Training to swim at a high level is not easy with UC, but I’m determined that this disease
won’t define me or what I can do!
I love swimming and working out so I’ve learned to be very disciplined with my nutrition and sleep, following
doctor’s orders, and listening to my coaches to be as efficient in the water as possible. I am very excited to take
my swimming to the next level in college. As I battle UC, I never give up on my goal to swim my best.
Though I know there are some tough days, I encourage you to stay positive and work toward your goals too!”
Thanks for the great advice, Audrey, and good luck at St. Thomas and beyond!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Zachary from Miami, FL! Diagnosed with Crohn’s in summer of 2019,
he refuses to let IBD stop him from finding success on the mat as a Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt!
Below is what his father and nominator Javier had to say about his amazing son:
“Zachary Arias is my son and a 17-year-old young man. He has been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since he was
4 years old. He is an avid sports fan and devoted to his South Florida sports teams. His dream is to someday
coach football. Zachary was diagnosed with Crohn’s July 2019 at the age of 16. Zachary was admitted to
the hospital on 7/12/2019, where he spent 21 long and painful days. He suffered from constipation, perianal
fistula, high CRP levels and white blood cell count. His weight on day 1 of his hospital stay was 111 LBS.
During his 15 year annual physical, Zachary weighed in at 123 – that’s an over 10 LB weight loss from the
An MRI was conducted and it showed major inflammation, mostly in the terminal ileum and the stomach.
2 additional fistulas were found in his stomach leading to his prostate. He was administered antibiotics in an
attempt to lower the inflammation enough to perform an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy, which was done a week
later. On 7/22, the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease was confirmed. A PICC Line for TPN was placed to maintain
his weight. His weight was now 104 LBS. After 21 long days, Zachary was released from the hospital with
the TPN maintained and no food besides ice cubes. After several weeks the TPN and PICC line was removed,
and Zachary was placed on Remicade infusions every 6 weeks and continues to improve.
Zachary has integrated IBD AID and the Special Carbohydrate Diet. During this grueling and painful time, Zachary
continued to train in Martial Arts 5-6 days a week. He has achieved a Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and assists
in coaching beginners and young students. He began to encompass weight lifting as part of his training – as
a result, he has gain muscle mass and now weighs over 132 LBS! Earlier this year, Zachary was invited to debut
in his first Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Super Match. Zachary won in the first few minutes of the match by submitting
his opponent in an arm-bar!
Zachary has never complained about his condition or the huge change in his diet. He has been an inspiration in
all of our lives. He does not let Crohn’s define his life, but he has learned how to live his life with Crohn’s!
He is our Hero and our ATHLETE WITH CROHN’S!”
Way to go, Zachary – you are such an inspiration”
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Grant from Millsap, TX!
Grant is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 6. After a bad flare when he was 12,
Grant spent many weeks in the hospital before ultimately undergoing 3 surgeries to remove his colon,
adding an ileostomy bag, and ultimately a j-pouch. All of Grant’s doctors and nurses were so wonderful,
they inspired him to pursue a career in the medical field someday!
Although his battle with UC has been very challenging, Grant has learned how to be tough and feels compelled
to raise awareness for the disease, and ultimately find a cure! Grant has an amazing team of supporters
helping him through his journey with IBD, including his school principals, nurses, coaches, family, friends, and
his church. Now a junior in high school, Grant is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder for the baseball team!
His advice to other kids facing UC? “Don’t let Crohn’s or Colitis define who you are. We are bigger than this!
Find a support system and don’t give up on a dream or goal you may have!”
Stay strong, Grant – we are rooting for you!
Another AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Fletcher from Atlanta, Georgia! Once a college baseball player and
a current MLB scout, Fletcher is the definition of strength, determination, and using his diagnosis to positively impact others!
Check out these words from Fletcher below:
“My name is Fletcher Byrd. I am a former College Baseball player and current Scout for the Oakland A’s. I was
diagnosed with Crohn’s in August 2020 and have had to endure 2 separate surgeries within that span to control
the disease. I had to undergo emergency resection surgery to remove parts of my lower intestine and currently
have a ileostomy bag. Crohn’s completely changed my life and has brought out the very best in me!
When I was at my lowest, I had to find a way to keep going, keep smiling and know that with hard work and faith
I would eventually get better! Even though I still have difficulties dealing with my new reality, I feel so much
better and am so happy to have already connected with many other athletes and incredible people who are
going through the very same thing as I am!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for featuring me and I hope somehow I can be an inspiration and small
example of what it means to battle and fight this disease with everything you’ve got! God Bless”
We are thrilled to have you on our team vs. Crohn’s, Fletcher – you are a role model and inspiration to all!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Alex from Houston, TX! He was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 13,
after years of stomach pain and what was thought of as reflux, but eventually led to weight loss
and failure to grow.
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Alex from Houston, TX! He was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 13,
after years of stomach pain and what was thought of as reflux, but eventually led to weight loss and
failure to grow. Alex’s parents were devastated to learn that he would be facing lifelong illness, but Alex
took the news in stride. Playing soccer for many years growing up, he noticed during his sophomore
year that he no longer had the stamina to keep up with the physical demands of soccer any longer. However,
he didn’t want to give up the sport he loved and the teammates that had become close friends – so he
became the soccer team manager for the JV team that year and then moved on to the Varsity team manager
role for 11th and 12th grades.
After many scopes and a few years of trying to get his biologic medication dosage at the right level, Alex has
gained 40 pounds in just over a year and says he feels better than he ever has in his entire life! This weight
gain and general feeling of good health made Alex want to give sports one more try. He told his parents he
wanted to play on the varsity football team as a punter for his upcoming senior year. Having never played
football or ever punted a football before, he started working with a punting coach and approached his school
coaches to see if he could join the team. The football team welcomed Alex with open arms and he proudly played
as one of the back up punters on the Varsity football team!
Finishing his senior year in high school as a Varsity football letterman was something Alex never thought
possible just 2 short years ago when he could barely run the length of the soccer field. Alex, now 18, will
be attending Texas A&M University in the fall and will be majoring in Sports Management where he hopes
to turn his passion for sports into a career with the goal of eventually going to law school and becoming
a sports agent. His spirit and determination in the face of what could be a lifelong battle against Crohn’s
Disease has inspired not only his family but also his coaches, teachers, friends and teammates.
His family and friends are so proud of him for never letting IBD stop him from reaching his goals! Way to go, Alex!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Faith from Wellsville, OH!
Now 14 years old, Faith was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 7. The last 7 years have been a
struggle with many different treatments and procedures. Receiving care at Akron Children’s Hospital,
her doctor describes Faith as “a grey area” – her symptoms and spirit never match her diagnosis!
Faith is always upbeat and smiling and never complains. She has undergone a variety of procedures
with scopes and blood transfusions, as well as weekly, monthly and every other month infusions. Working
with an extensive care team over the years, Faith and her family appreciate everyone’s efforts and support.
Today, Faith is off all medication and treatment!
In addition to being active in her church, she loves cheerleading and has been cheering for her school
since she was just 3 years old! Faith has a contagious smile, loves to make her family laugh, and is always positive!
She looks forward to trying out for her high school cheer squad and enjoying time with her friends in the coming months.
Keep smiling, Faith – you are an inspiration to all!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Kirstin from Crofton, MD!
An 18-year-old freshman cross country/track athlete at the University of Maryland, she was diagnosed
with Celiac disease at 18 months, and Crohn’s Disease at six years old. At seven years old, she had
a feeding tube surgically placed in her stomach from which she was solely fed from for three months,
and remained partially tube fed until she was 12 years old. She has been able to keep her Crohn’s in
remission by eating a strict grain-free diet ever since!
Off the track, Kirstin is a double major with journalism and government & politics as well as a Media,
Self, and Society Scholar. She would like to encourage all those facing health issues to recognize the
strength and bravery that they’ve obtained through their struggles as an advantage in life!
You are SUCH an inspiration, Kirstin!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Ethan from Hudson, OH!
Just 11 years old, Ethan was diagnosed with Crohn’s in December after his parents noticed his fatigue,
low appetite, weight loss and pale skin. His pediatrician noted that his growth had significantly
slowed, and ordered several blood tests. After a pediatric gastroenterologist reviewed the results of those
tests and Ethan underwent a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy, it was confirmed that he had Crohn’s.
While learning that he had a chronic illness was shocking, Ethan read about other young athletes
succeeding despite having Crohn’s, and he knew he wasn’t going to let it stop him from playing the
sports that he loves! He immediately began treatment at Akron Children’s Hospital, where he
receives Remicade infusions. He also takes a weekly dose of Methotrexate and daily iron pills to
counteract his anemia.
Ethan is a multi-sport athlete and plays football, basketball, lacrosse and golf. His diagnosis came in the
middle of his basketball season and he was really struggling with fatigue and nausea from his disease.
However, after starting treatments, he has already started to feel better and has more energy and
a spark back in his eyes! He is looking forward to his upcoming spring lacrosse season, since last year’s
season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Ethan’s family is so proud of him for his bravery and positive attitude, and we know he is going to keep
fighting back and not let Crohn’s get him down!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek serves as a special shout-out to a crohnie making a name for himself
on the national stage! Christian, featured as our Teammate of the Week in fall of 2019,
is a standout lacrosse player at the University of the Cumberlands.
Diagnosed with Crohn’s in 8th grade, Christian has battled fatigue, sickness and flares,
but never let his condition stop him from striving for greatness. Well, his hard work
has paid off – this amazing goal propelled him to the Top Plays on Sportscenter, coming in
at number 4! Check out the above video of his awesome behind-the-back score and join us in congratulating
Christian for this amazing accomplishment – the AVC family is beyond proud!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Luke from Cincinnati, OH! Nominated by his supportive father John,
we had the pleasure of meeting Luke back in 2019 at the CCFA Family Education Day – where our very own
Noah was the keynote speaker! Below is what John had to say about his favorite Crohnie:
“Luke was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 9 after a bout of crippling cramps during a family vacation. He went through
multiple different cocktails of medications over the course of the next several years, even participating in clinical trials,
all with limited success. Eventually, he has found a level of remission with Entyvio infusions every 5 weeks. Despite all of his challenges,
Luke never let the disease slow him down. He is nearly a straight A student, black belt in Karate, and is a multi-sport athlete
who helped lead his cross-country team to a middle school state championship this year. He is also the starting point guard for his
7th grade basketball team! Luke is a huge fan of Larry Nance Jr., and is a regular attendee at IBD Day in Mason, Ohio
where has listened to Noah (while wearing an LNJ Jersey!) and others give powerful testimonies of their lives with IBD related
illnesses. Luke is a hard worker who is always thinking about the feelings of others, and is an inspiration to his family and all those around him!”
Keep up the great work, Luke – you are such an inspiration!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Nick from Cedar Grove, NJ!
A senior long snapper for the Purdue University football team, Nick was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis during his freshman
year of college after battling stomach pain, endless trips to the bathroom, and rapid weight loss. A true warrior on and off
the field, he has endured 3 surgeries – including a j-pouch and reversal – but that doesn’t stop him from performing at the highest level.
With a new found love for healthy cooking, a strong workout regimen, and a positive attitude, Nick is able to stay on the
field and lead his team to victory! You are such an inspiration, Nick!
To learn more about Nick and his battle with IBD, check out the Lafayette Journal & Courier article written about him HERE.
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek comes from the highest level of professional sports – the Olympics!
US kayaker Carrie Johnson made it to three Summer Olympic Games, all while battling Crohn’s disease!
Back in 2003, anemia, fatigue, and weight loss forced her to stop training. After many tests, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s,
and doctors helped her manage the disease. She qualified for her first Olympics in Athens a year later. In her most recent Olympics,
the 2012 London Games, Johnson reached the semifinals in two events. Now retired from the sport, Johnson advocates
for people with Crohn’s, urging others not to be embarrassed or discouraged by their condition!
Thanks for using your platform to help others, Carrie – you are an inspiration to all!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Lauryn from Columbus, OH! Nominated by her mother Vicki, Lauryn is 16 and
was diagnosed with Crohn’s 4 years ago. Below is what Vicki had to say about her daughter:
“This is our Crohnie, Lauryn. She is a 4.0+ student athlete, in the 11th grade. She plays soccer (goalkeeper) for her high school and has
been playing since she was 4 years old. Lauryn has not let Crohn’s or PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis,) another bonus disease
that is a result of Crohn’s, stop her! Lauryn is also a member of her high school marching band, playing trumpet. Her season is packed
with school, soccer, band, then homework til 11:00pm/midnight.
Lauryn takes a slew of medications, including Entyvio infusions every 6 weeks, as well as weekly methotrexate shots. Along with a
daily regimen of Vancomycin, Ursidol, and a handful of vitamins. Because of her liver disorder, she not only has a yearly colonoscopy,
but MRIs and liver biopsies. She does let that stop her from being a star student athlete and recently a mentor through
Nationwide Children’s Hospital to motivate new young people with Crohn’s! She has been in remission for 2 years, after beginning on
nutritional therapy that finally calmed her flares down to accept medications.”
You are such an inspiration, Lauryn – both on and off the field!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Brendan from Massachusetts!
Brendan is 20 years old and is a stand out hockey player! Battling Ulcerative Colitis for most of his life, his hard work and determination
helps him stay on the ice even in days when he is not feeling well or battling a flare. Brendan has a great support system, made up of his family,
teammates, and coach, to help keep him motivated and ready to compete! This fall, he plans to transition to collegiate hockey and study law.
Keep being an inspiration, Brendan!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Hayden from Imperial, Missouri! Nominated by his loving and supportive family, Hayden is 14
and was diagnosed with Crohn’s one year ago. Below is what his mom had to say about him:
“Hayden is 14 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 13. After over a year of sickness, we were happy to finally have answers – but had
no idea what the next year would hold for Hayden. He takes steroids daily, as well as Remicade infusions every 4 weeks, and
iron infusions. After many months in bed and several hospital visits, Hayden fought his way back on the field. Hayden’s determination,
heart for God and love for the game is amazing to watch! Even on days that his arthritis is bothering him, you can not keep
him off the mound. Hayden has been so blessed with a caring amazing coach! We are so very proud of Hayden’s maturity with his
diagnosis, and he does not let it define his life. #findacureforhaybale”
Stay strong and keep working hard, Hayden!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Logan from North Dakota! A senior in high school and a standout football player, Logan was nominated for this
well-deserved recognition by his coach, @lawryjohnson! Below is what Coach Johnson had to say about Logan:
“Logan is a Senior here at Divide County High School in Crosby, North Dakota. I had the honor of coaching him this year
for my first-year teaching/coaching at Divide County School District. I didn’t know until towards the end of the season that Logan
had been diagnosed with Crohn’s. Logan is very hardworking and he never once mentioned anything with having Crohn’s during practice
and for the whole season I coached him. He never used it as an excuse or a way out of anything. Here at Divide County,
he helped the Maroons 9-man team clinch the Regional Championship with a 7-1 regular season record despite the team having
to take two weeks off and not being able to practice and play two games due to a Covid 19 outbreak in surrounding areas.
He then came back with the team and prepped three days for our first-round playoff football game. On the defensive side of the ball,
he was the team leader in interceptions and was a very good leader for the secondary crew at the safety position.
Logan was the main guy on defense, having to cover a lot of teams’ top receivers. On the offensive side, he was an excellent wide receiver.
He was one of the top receivers on the team in receiving and rushing yards, as well as being an exceptional blocker.
Logan has also been recommended for college football at a few surrounding universities here in North Dakota. I am very proud of
Logan’s work ethic and I’m glad I had the experience working with him this football season.”
Way to go Logan, and thanks to Coach Johnson for being such a great advocate for his players!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Bella from Tennessee! Nominated by her supportive mom and dad,
Bella was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease last month at the age of 13.
Despite this new diagnosis and all that goes along with it, Bella has already gotten back to cheer and golf!
She has started infusions, is on a high dose of steroids, takes 15 or more pills per day, and has only missed school when
hospitalized at the time of her initial diagnosis. Bella is a straight A student and hopes to use her condition for
good – she is already planning to gather craft items with her golf team to donate to the local children’s hospital and hopes to
include her cheer squad in upcoming fundraising efforts for IBD research!
Bella also hopes for a career in the medical field one day. She’s not letting Crohn’s get her down, and refuses to let IBD
hold her back from reaching her goals! Way to go, Bella!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Kyle from Leetonia, OH!
Kyle is 12 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease last December after battling years of stomach pain, vomiting, and weight loss.
Despite all of this, he continued to compete in athletics year round and push through the pain. He immediately began a treatment regimen of
Remicade and Methotrexate – and it has been a game changer for him!! He is not able to eat without pain and has gained 35 pounds in the last
year Kyle plays soccer, baseball, and basketball, with basketball being his favorite sport. Off the court, Kyle maintains straight As and a positive attitude!
Stay strong, Kyle!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Isaac from Tulsa, OK!
Isaac is 13 and has been living with Ulcerative Colitis for about a year now. He is an awesome basketball player and an avid fan! He is also a
great student who loves to play video games. In the year since he has been diagnosed with UC, he has gone through quite a bit of testing and tried
a few different medications – but he never complains! He is currently getting Humira injections every other week and likes to say that lab
work and injections “earn” him a milkshake.
Isaac loves all sports and has played soccer, baseball, tennis, and basketball. He likes to watch sports just as much as he likes to be on the field/court.
He also loves to collect sports memorabilia, especially basketball cards. He has a competitive spirit, but even more so he has a coachable, can-do
attitude. He has great leadership skills, and encourages his family, friends, and teammates to be their best! Isaac never complains about his
diagnosis and refuses to let his condition stop him from achieving his goals!
Way to go, Isaac!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Justin Brown from Chicago!
Justin is 21 and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 16. A graduate transfer from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he is now
playing basketball at Wagner College in NYC! The road to college athletics has not been easy for Justin – he has battled with UC throughout high
school and college, often causing extreme fatigue and stomach flu-like symptoms. His lack of overall energy and physical strength made going
to school, competition, and managing student-athlete responsibilities extremely difficult. However, with the right medication, time, and
changing to a plant-based diet, he has been able to manage his condition to live a more comfortable and active lifestyle.
Off the court, Justin shines as well – he has been named to his conference Honor Roll and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll as well. His advice to
other IBD athletes who hope to compete in college? “IT IS POSSIBLE! Stay diligent in finding what works for you! Everyone is different but we all
are fighting the same fight!”
Thanks for being such an incredible role model and inspiration, Justin – we will be rooting for you this season!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Noah from Medina, OH!
Noah is 15 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease just after his 6th birthday. After years of struggling with different medications, he
began Remicade infusions in the 4th grade and has been receiving them ever since. Active in every sport as a child, Noah is now a sophomore
in high school and plays soccer, baseball, and is a kicker for the football team! Despite periodic symptoms and tough days, Noah always has a great attitude,
maintains high energy, and working hard at the sports he loves – determined to shine in competition!
You are such an inspiration, Noah!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is a special shout out to one of our first volunteers and biggest supporters – Hayley from Cleveland, OH!
Featured as our #TeammateoftheWeek in September of last year, Hayley deserves some extra recognition following an outstanding tennis season
at her high school! Just a freshman, she is headed to the STATE tournament this weekend after winning sectionals and placing 3rd in her district!
Hayley is proof that with hard work and a great attitude, anything is possible, even with Crohn’s!
Bring home the gold, girl! We believe in you!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Aviad from New York! Just 11 years old, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease last summer.
Nominated by his supportive mother, Sarah, Aviad is a special young man. Below is what she had to say about him:
“Aviad is originally from Israel, where he played for years for the Elitzur League in his hometown of Rehovot. In 2018, at age nine, he
moved temporarily with his family to New York City. In New York, Aviad trained with the Bronx Basketball League and played this last year
as a shooting guard in the Riverdale Y Stanley Lane League.
Aviad was diagnosed this summer (June 2020) with Crohn’s during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, after losing weight and suffering
from frequent stomach aches for years. However, despite the fact that he might be shorter and skinnier than his teammates, Aviad – a true
fighter and fierce competitor – persists, and constantly works to improve his skills. Aviad handles the ball with finesse, using his speed
and coordination to drive to the basket and to get rebounds over much taller and heavier competitors. And he hopes to become a star center
once he starts gaining weight and growing again!
Aviad is currently under the excellent care of Dr. Keith Benkov and his team of experts at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and his amazing
Pediatrician, Dr. Barbara Strassberg, and has just started Remicade infusions. The morning after his first treatment, Aviad was already back
on the court practicing ball. He does not give up.”
Keep working hard and inspiring other, Aviad!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Ariel from Cincinnati, OH!
Nominated by her supportive family, Ariel is 16 years old, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease right before her 14th birthday
after complaining of stomach pains for over a year. Once diagnosed, she completed nutritional therapy, started taking methotrexate, then
on to Humira, which she continues to take today. Before her diagnosis, Ariel was active in dance, volleyball and track. During these last two years,
Ariel has spent more time crafting, volunteering and raising funds for Crohns and Colitis research. She also has a love for music – she was
recently accepted into her high school marching band, playing clarinet! Ariel is also a great student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA, with goals to
become a Neonatal Nurse and continue to support the effort in finding a cure for Crohn’s disease! Ariel has not achieved remission,
but she continues to be positive and live her best life!
You are a true inspiration, Ariel!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Luke from Ypsilanti, Michigan!
Nominated by his supportive dad Glen, Luke was diagnosed with UC in the summer of 2019. Just 15 at the time, he battled severe stomach pain and
lost 30 pounds in a 5 week span. Despite all of this, Luke never kept fighting and did not miss any games during his junior season. This year, he
battled a bad flare which caused him to start infusion treatments to get his symptoms under control. Once again, he battled through the adversity
and did not miss a single game or workout, making the most of his senior year. Luke is a great student, holding a 3.86 GPA, and hopes to be able
to continue his football career at the collegiate level next fall.
Way to go, Luke!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Josh from California!
Josh is 17 and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 13 after battling stomach pain for many years. A volleyball player at his high school, Josh
is also a published author! He designed a cookbook – “Comfort Food for an Uncomfortable Stomach” – as a way to empower kids and their families
to find ways to enjoy food even with the limitations of IBD. The book outlines helpful hints and products, as well as a variety of
breakfast, entrees, sides, and snack recipes that work well for sensitive stomachs. All proceeds from the sale of Josh’s book, which can be found
on Amazon, benefit his hometown chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation!
Way to make a difference, Josh!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Leo from Oslo, Norway!
Leo is 17 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s in early August after experiencing months of severe nausea and stomach pain. Leo lives a
very healthy lifestyle, focused on eating clean and playing sports – he loves soccer, tennis, basketball, running, and even cross country skiing!
Refusing to let IBD limit his possibilities, Leo also maintains good grades in school and looks forward to graduating and having a bright, active future!
Way to go, Leo!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek comes from the world of professional sports – former NFL player David Garrard!
Living with Crohn’s Disease since 2004, the retired Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback battled stomach pain and weight loss, and ultimately
had a foot of his intestine removed before returning to the field! Since leaving the NFL, David has been a wonderful ambassador and role
model for athletes battling Crohn’s, including our very own @larrydn7! His advice to others living with IBD? “You might have Crohn’s, but it
doesn’t have you. Don’t let it keep you down. Go and live your dream.”
Thanks for being such an inspiration, David – without you, AVC would not exist!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Hope from Cleveland, OH! We have had the pleasure of meeting Hope and her family at some of our
past AVC events, and she has such a positive spirit and is a true role model for the IBD community!
Hope was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease during her freshman year of high school. From the beginning of her diagnosis, she was on Remicade
infusions every eight weeks, but after two reactions to her medication this past spring, she has been put on Humira every 2 weeks. She
achieved remission while on her Remicade and since switching to Humira has been trying to again reach this goal. Since being diagnosed,
Hope has embraced her disease and doesn’t let her disease define her!
She has even taken on the role of ambassador, as she tries to help educate others around her on what it is truly like to live with Crohn’s. She
even started an Instagram account to showcase the ins and outs of IBD – she talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly on @life_vs_crohns
(definitely worth a follow!)
Hope has been a cheerleader since the fifth grade and after being diagnosed took two years off to become healthier and stronger. During her
sophomore year she decided to start cheering again – since then, she has been a varsity Cheerleader for football and basketball at her high
school. She has also received the scholar athlete award during both seasons! She is now entering her senior year as Co-Captain of her
football cheer team and even with COVID changing everything in her life, is very excited for her season and her school year!
You are a true inspiration, Hope!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Ariana from Maryland!
Nominated by her loving parents, Ari was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was 13 after suffering from debilitating stomach pain
for nearly two years. After countless doctor appointments, scopes, and blood tests, she was finally diagnosed in December 2017.
The doctor’s words “chronic”, “no cure”, “rough road ahead” were so jarring for her, as she had no family history of IBD and never missed a day
of school for being sick – even with the stomach pain.
Ariana has been through so much at such a young age. She has not just persevered through endless appointments and procedures – colonoscopies,
endoscopies, MREs, biweekly injections she gives herself, adhering strictly to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and major bowel resection
surgery – she maintains an incredible sense of humor, unwavering self confidence, and never feels sorry for herself. She never lets her
setbacks actually set her back. Through it all, she maintains straight A’s in all Honors and AP classes, is the Vice President of her high
school class, plays soccer and basketball, performs in the school’s annual Rock & Roll revival musical, is an active member of the
Black Student Union, and the Give to Live Charity Club.
The day after one of her hospitalizations she was feeding the homeless at a Washington DC shelter and was back on the soccer field two weeks
after an ileocecectomy! She doesn’t let Crohn’s define her, and she views her disease as just one more thing that makes her who she is;
an incredibly strong, intelligent, insightful, compassionate young woman.
She is a hero and a true warrior! Keep up the great work, Ari!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Dana from Florida! Nominated by his mother Theresa, Dana has been battling UC since he was
16 years old. Below is a bio, written by Dana himself, that outlines his journey with IBD:
“My name is Dana Merry and I’m from Daytona Beach, Florida. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age 16. I was losing blood,
couldn’t eat anything, and I got extremely sick. I was afraid to tell anyone because I was scared I had cancer or something along those lines.
When I did tell, my doc ordered blood tests and a colonoscopy. The results confirmed U.C. After I was diagnosed, my doc prescribed Apriso,
as well as I made some necessary changes in my diet such as Ezekiel bread, almond milk, no peanut butter, as well as taking a host of
supplements from Garden of Life. With these changes & the help of Dr. Ogholikhan & his amazing staff at Nemours Jacksonville, Florida,
I am happy to report that I am in remission!
I played both basketball and baseball in high school & maintained a 4.4 GPA while dealing with U.C. It has been tough to deal with, but I’m glad
I’ve been able to push through. I will be attending Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida, in August 2020 to study
Computer Science & Cybersecurity.”
Keep up the great work, Dana – you are such an inspiration!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Chayse from Tennessee!
Nominated by his supportive mother Sonya, Chayse was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 6 years ago at the age of 5, after weeks of
stomach pain and unexplained weight loss. He was admitted into Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital weighing 27 lbs and spent
the next 34 days in the hospital. Under the care of Dr. Dedrick Moulton and Stacy Hawkins, PNP- he left Vanderbilt on a 24 hour NG tube feed.
Within weeks, Chayse was back on the basketball court and soccer field!
Chayse has spent the last 2 years on Remicade after 5 years of weekly Methotrexate injections. Chayse loves to fish and has continued
to play travel soccer despite the constant stomach pain, joint pain, and fatigue. Chayse doesn’t let his Crohn’s keep him from doing
what makes him happy and playing the sport that he loves!
What an inspiration you are, Chayse – we are thrilled to have you on our team vs. IBD!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Sam from Cleveland, OH!
Now 22, Sam was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 7. One week after diagnosis, he started Remicade infusions – and he immediately
responded thanks to the amazing team at the Cleveland Clinic! Sam was a multi sport athlete growing up, playing football, wrestling,
and his true love – rugby! He went on the play rugby in college, at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, where he and his team
won a National championship his freshman year!
Thanks for being such an inspiration for other battling IBD, Sam.
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Macie from Washington!
Nominated her mother Amee, Macie was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis during her junior year of high school. Having always
been a very active person and a multi-sport athlete, it was obvious something very serious was wrong when she was unable to
compete in her track season. She spent many days in the hospital trying to get her flare under control – finally, after countless tests,
medications and trips to the doctor, she was able to better manage her diagnosis.
Despite all of this, Macie never gave up and continued training and challenging herself even when she wasn’t feeling her best.
Macie was able to make it back on the basketball court her senior year of high school and accrued many awards and state
accolades. She has just finished up her freshman year of college at Eastern Oregon University, where she is on the women’s basketball team!
You are such an inspiration, Macie – we are all rooting for you!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Michael from Yankton, South Dakota!
A rising sophomore at South Dakota State University, Michael was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was in 4th grade.
Due to an excellent medical team and Remicade infusions every 8 weeks, he is now feeling great and was a 2-time high school
All-State selection in both football and baseball! Michael is now a proud member of the SDSU Jackrabbit football team as a punter, and
is also enjoying his first season of amateur baseball, playing for the Lesterville Broncs. An animal science major, he plans to
someday expand on his Hereford cow operation!
Way to go, Michael!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is 19 year old Sean from PA!
Nominated by his mom Michele, Sean has been battling Crohn’s Disease since 2012. Very active in sports at the time of his diagnosis,
he continued playing basketball through many flares; always with his game face on, not wanting to define himself as ill or wanting
special treatment, and certainly not backing down. This year, his health status, unfortunately, prevented him from being
on the team. However, Sean was not willing to give up the game he loves and was able to move into a
new role – as coach! He became an assistant coach of his school’s freshman team; who, in fact, had a winning record this year!
Unfortunately, Sean has not been able to gain remission, or relief, from his Crohn’s symptoms through any of the traditional therapies
(Remicade, Humira, Entyvio, Stelara, or methotrexate.) He now faces his greatest challenge – the need for surgery and a permanent ostomy
to allow his body to heal and grow. Sean just graduated from high school last month, and he plans to continue onto college and pursue coaching!
Sean is courageous, selfless, and kind – he has a strong faith that continues to be his source of strength daily. Due to all of the adversity
he has faced, both on and off the court, and his winning attitude, there is no doubt that he will be successful in whatever he does!
Way to go, Sean!
Today’s #TeammateoftheWeek comes to us from the “behind the scenes” world of professional sports!
Nominated by her brother and fellow “Crohnie” Will, Mary is from Syracuse, NY and was diagnosed with Crohn’s
disease at age 15. Mary has always had a love of sports – in high school, she was active in golf, swimming, and basketball.
She went on to study at Marquette University, where she interned for the athletic office all 4 years,
as well as the Milwaukee Bucks and Brew City Legends. Upon graduation, she began working for the Bucks full time!
According to Will, Mary is “a symbol of strength and endurance who deserves recognition for her incredible work ethic
in her career and serves as an inspiration for athletes with Crohn’s everywhere who want to
continue to work in sports after their playing days may be over. She is my Teammate of the Week every week and is the
incredibly inspirational captain of our team as we navigate life with Crohn’s!”
Thank you, Will, for being such a loving and supportive brother, and thanks to Mary for providing such a strong role model
for the IBD community – we are thrilled to have you both on our team vs. Crohn’s!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Tristan from Kansas!
Tristan is now 15 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s earlier this year following multiple misdiagnoses after displaying
symptoms for 3 years. He has been competitively shooting for 6 years and loves every minute of it! Even when his symptoms were
at their worst, he never gave up and kept working to improve his skills. His hard work definitely paid off – he is the current state
champion in Skeet, Double Skeet and Sporting Clays in his age bracket! He is a part of the Kansas City Crushers and St. James Academy
clay target teams, and he has even attended the SCTP Junior Olympic Camp in Colorado Springs!
Tristan’s IBD treatment has just begun, and he is hopeful that his future seasons will be even more successful
with a healthier body and outlook. He is very open with his diagnosis and treatment, and wants to make sure that any
athlete knows they can continue doing what they love despite living with Crohn’s Disease.
Way to go, Tristan!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Collin from Archbold, OH!
Nominated by his mom Emily, Collin is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 7 after losing
20 pounds and suffering from constant stomach pain. With the help of monthly Remicade infusions, he is now feeling
great and has been able to maintain positions on rec and travel teams for football, basketball, and baseball!
Although Collin has faced challenges with IBD, including fistula, abscesses, and fatigue, he doesn’t let his condition keep
him from practicing and playing the games he loves!
Way to go, Collin!!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Lance from San Diego, CA!
Lance is 18 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s at just 4 years old. Lance has never let his disease determine what he can
and can’t do! Over the years, he has played many sports – including football, soccer, baseball and golf – all while battling pain,
hospitalizations, and procedures. Despite all of these hurdles, he managed to win student athlete award at his school in 7th and 8th grade!
In 9th grade, Lance had to adjust to a new lifestyle due to a bleeding disorder diagnosis. That’s when Lance found volleyball.
For the past 4 years, he has been a part of the indoor and beach volleyball team at his high school, as well as
club – he even received an offer to play in college! Lance loves athletics and doesn’t want any young athletes to give up on
their dream, which drove him to the decision to major in kinesiology in college in hopes of becoming a physical therapist.
Lance loves to give back to his community in both fields he knows best – sports and medical. For that reason, he has
volunteered to coach a parochial school girls volleyball team the past 3 years and is a volunteer at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
The future is very bright for Lance, and we are thrilled to have him on our team vs. IBD!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Olivia from New Jersey! Nominated by her mom Lora, she was diagnosed with
Crohn’s 5 years ago – now she is a college soccer player, setting a positive example on and off the field!
Below is what Lora has to say about her amazing daughter:
“Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 14, Olivia never let this stop her from reaching her goals. From the age of 5,
Olivia was spellbound by soccer. Dedicating every moment of her free time to playing, watching, and studying the sport. Her goal
was to play collegiate soccer while pursuing a career in Engineering. When she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, it
seemed that her dreams were shattered. However, she was courageous and determined. She decided rather than let the disease
define her, to let it inspire and drive her – which is exactly what she did!
Everyone who knows her is amazed by what she achieves while continually overcoming the challenges of this disease.
Olivia is a Chemical Engineering major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a 3.5 GPA. She plays center midfield for the RPI Engineers,
where she is on the team’s leadership board and serves as the Community Service Chair. She is a member of the
2019 Liberty League All-Academic Team and is the Community Service Chair and Member Outreach Chair for the National
Society of Leadership and Success. She is interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology to research cures for diseases.
She is an inspiration to others, her dedication and determination to reach for the stars is incredible. We can’t wait to see where
her future takes her. She is definitely going to make a difference in many peoples’ lives!”
Keep up the amazing work, Olivia!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Eve from Oklahoma!
Eve is 17 and she was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s after suffering from symptoms for years. She is a part
of the USA national tumbling team and placed 5th in the world last November at the World Championships in Tokyo!
After returning from Japan, her pain and sickness became unbearable and it took her out of the gym.
This is when she finally got the diagnosis and has since began treatment and the road to feeling better.
She is a very hard worker, and pushes through pain, sickness, and uncertainty constantly to do what she loves!
Sports and competition are what make her happiest and she can’t wait to get back in the gym! Even
though Eve is just beginning her journey with IBD, knowing that sports can continue to be in her life helps her keep
pushing herself even on the hardest days!
Way to go, Eve – we are all rooting for you and are thrilled to have you on our team vs. Crohn’s!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Chase from Millbrook, AL!
Nominated by him mom Joanie, Chase is 11 and was diagnosed with severe and aggressive Crohn’s Disease in September
of 2019. He ended up spending 7 long days at Children’s of Alabama and immediately started Remicade treatments.
Chase is a warrior – he has had 3 surgeries since November for fistulas and had to miss 4 months of school dealing with his new
diagnosis, but has settled into a treatment plan of infusions every 4 weeks, antibiotics, and methotrexate injections.
Despite all of this, he continued playing football, basketball, and now baseball. Chase refuses to let his diseases
stop him, and he shows so much fight alongside both mental and physical strength.
Stay strong, Chase!!
Today’s AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Jean from Indianapolis!
Nominated by her mother Cindy, Jean is 10 years old and was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s Disease at age 8.
She receives Humira treatments weekly, and though it is never great to see that needle, she and her family
are so grateful that this life-changing medication exists!
Jean has played tennis since age 6 and at the 2019 Indiana Junior Open, her first ever tournament, she received
the Sportsmanship Award. Coach Parveen and Coach Pride of the Indianapolis Healthplex have been awesome instructors!
She hopes to play tennis in high school, and her family hopes the sport provides her fun and fitness – and helps keep
her healthy – throughout her life. Jean is always on the lookout for tennis players at the high school, collegiate or professional
level who, like her, fight past the pain and fatigue of inflammatory bowel disease to get out on the court.
Stay strong, Jean!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Mason from VA!
Nominated by him mom Ashley, Mason was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at just 8 years old after months
of severe stomach pain, weight loss, fatigue and joint pain. He will be 13 in just a few months and is thriving under the care of
Dr. Barrett Barnes at UVA Children’s Hospital in Virginia! He has been on Remicade for almost two years
and despite still battling some fatigue and pain, he plays football and basketball, is on the A Honor roll in school
and volunteers for a local dog rescue organization.
Mason has the heart of a warrior and shows grit and determination every day, both personally and athletically.
He navigates his life with Crohn’s disease with maturity, humor, and has never allowed this awful disease to stop him from pursuing
his dreams. Mason is truly an inspiration for living your best life, no matter what this world throws at you!
Keep up the great work, Mason!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Harley from Dallas, TX!
He is 12 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 10. Harley is an incredible athlete, and plays soccer,
basketball, golf, but his favorite sport tennis. He was invited to play in the state championships in Austin, TX
when he had to drop out due to severe abdominal pain and nausea. He lost 16 lbs in 4 weeks and was fatigued and unable
to play the game he loved.
When he withdrew himself from a tournament, we knew there was something terribly wrong. He loves
to watch Roger Federer, Raphael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic and hopes someday he might be able to play like them.
Harley has adopted the SCD diet and tells people he eats like Djokovic, and his friends say he’s the resident
health expert. He’s practiced hard over the past couple of years and slowly worked his way back into tournaments.
After a 2 year hiatus, he won his first challenger back and champed up! He is so happy to be back in the game and feeling good!
Harley refuses to let Crohn’s keep him from doing the things he loves and wont let his condition be an excuse
to hold him back from his goals. He hopes to be an inspiration for others and help others on their journey to health and success.
He’s definitely been an inspiration to his family and friends and they couldn’t be more proud of him!
Aside from sports, Harley loves travel, animals, cooking healthy food, and spending time with friends and family.
Great job, Harley!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Taylor from Vienna, VA!
Taylor is 14 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was in 7th grade. Despite her condition,
she never let anything stop her from pushing through and staying active! She continued to play field hockey
and finished her freshman season as the starting goalie for her high school team. Even on days when
she wasn’t feeling well and her energy was low, Taylor always stepped up to support her team
and is determined to leave it all in the field.
Way to go, Taylor!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Andrew from Swanson, OH!
Nominated by his mom Missy, Andrew is 17 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 12. His condition has not
deterred his love of sports – he was the starting quarterback for his football team last season and he also plays a key role
on his basketball team as a leading rebounder and scorer. He also finds time during the week to do workouts
with a personal trainer to better himself at the sports he loves. Andrew has faced the many challenges of IBD
with a small on his face and shows courage through every battle.
Keep up the great work, Andrew!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Joey from Mount Prospect, IL!
Active in football, basketball, and track, we had the pleasure of meeting Joey and his family at our IBD Awareness Night
with the Bulls in January! Nominated by his loving family and girlfriend Grace, Joey was diagnosed with
Ulcerative Colitis in January of 2019, at 15 years old. Below is what his loved ones had to say about him:
“It was scary and difficult to see the pain, constant stomach aches, fatigue, and weight loss from a teenager who
has always been active in sports since he could walk. As a toddler and through grade school, Joey played in multiple park
district sports leagues including basketball, soccer, karate, field hockey and flag football. He advanced to tackle football
and continued to play basketball while also running track. He was awarded ‘Student of the Month’ in both 6th and 7th grades
for academics and leadership qualities – an award given collectively from teacher recommendations.
In 8th grade, he was recognized by his physical education teacher and received the Physical Education Award.
Upon diagnosis, he started lengthy months of steroids, Remicade infusions at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago,
and other medications, but it was not effective. His treatment was changed to Entyvio infusions and 3 attempts to taper off steroids.
Even with stomach aches, he continues to wake up each morning for 7am training before his classes start and now
stays after school for track. Even after fighting through medication and treatments, he worked hard – attending football
practices and games and earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award, a recognition given from his coaches.
We are amazed with his drive and commitment to sports while balancing his academics. Most recently, he was nominated
to participate in his high school leaders program and is also working with the special needs class this semester.
Joey is funny, bright, respectful, determined, and we are so proud of the way he pushes forward! WE LOVE OUR JOEY!”
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Tyson from Avon, Indiana!
Nominated by his mom Jamie, Tyson was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was just 5.
Now 9 years old, Tyson loves sports and is active is football and basketball. After training all last summer
to make his travel hoops team, Tyson has recently been sidelined after starting Humira, chemotherapy
treatments, and a surgery to drain a fistula.
Sending lots of love, positivity, and strength to Tyson in hopes that he will find remission and get back
on the court soon! We believe in you!!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is the beautiful and talented Maurissa from Madison, WI!
Maurissa was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in January of 2019 after experiencing persistent fatigue, weight loss
and vomiting leading up to her 18th birthday. A serious ballet student with aspirations to dance professionally, Maurissa
had immediate concerns about her ability to meet the intense physical demands of a ballet career while also dealing
with an incurable autoimmune disease. Despite hospitalizations, feeding tubes, countless labs and invasive tests,
she never gave up. She was back onstage performing just 60 days after leaving the hospital, danced in a production of ‘Newsies’,
earned her high school diploma and driver’s license all as she worked in the studio and gym to regain strength and stamina.
Her efforts and talent were rewarded with promotion to Company Apprentice by @madisonballet and again
in July when she won a silver medal for ballet performance at NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and
Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) National Competition. In August, surgeons removed 3.5 feet of her small intestine, requiring
6 weeks of recovery before she could begin to rebuild her body a second time. Despite a very difficult year, Maurissa is
enjoying her first season as a professional ballet dancer in her very own hometown! She also enjoys teaching ballet,
acting, performing musical theater and promoting diversity in ballet through outreach events.
Maurissa eats well, stays hydrated, keeps a strong mental outlook by taking dance classes in other genres, rests or asks
for help when she needs it, and listens to her body as she continues biweekly injections of Humira to keep her Crohn’s
in check. Maurissa hopes sharing her story will inspire kids with medical challenges to keep reaching for their own dreams!
Keep dancing and inspiring, Maurissa!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Jayden from Sioux Falls, SD who was nominated by him mom and #1 fan, Jill.
Jayden is 19 and was diagnosed with IBD his senior year of high school after a 6 month battle with pain following an appendix
rupture during football season – he only missed 1 game! After a series of tests, he was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s
with a 3 mm opening between the small and large intestine due to scarring. In January of 2019, he underwent
a colon resection surgery and a temporary ilieostomy. In March of 2019, the ilieostomy takedown was performed, as well
as the hernia/abdominal wall repair.
He is a standout quarterback and was given the opportunity to play football for North Dakota State, who recently won
the Div. 1 FCS National Championship! He joined the team 10 weeks after his final surgery and continued workouts, weightlifting,
and the high demands of D1 football as a redshirt freshman this past season. He continues to believe that
“nothing is more challenging and difficult that what he has faced with Crohn’s!” He has a regimen of bimonthly Humira
injections, which have helped him return to feeling good as he continues to strive for his goals of a degree in
Mechanical Engineering and to play football for the NDSU Bison!
What an inspiration!!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Jackson from Youngstown, OH!
Jackson was diagnosed with Crohn’s 3 years ago, at age 11, following persistent stomach pain, weight loss,
and fatigue. He eventually was referred to a GI at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland,
and began a regimen of Remicade infusions every 8 weeks as well as Prednisone and iron treatments.
Jackson was also forced to change his diet – he used to love junk food and now eats very clean and healthy to keep him
strong and growing! Active in his middle school’s basketball team and a travel baseball squad, he is also on the honor roll!
Keep up the awesome work, Jackson!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Davis from Monroe, OH!
Davis is a junior in high school and enjoys all sports, but basketball and football are his favorite! Diagnosed with severe
UC last fall following years of sickness and weight loss, he recently began Remicade infusions and is finally on the mend!
When not playing sports, Davis plays the guitar, acts, and sings – in fact, he played Troy, the lead role, in High School Musical
last year! He also enjoys photography and is active in Young Life.
Davis and his family would like to offer a sincere thank you to his guidance counselor at school, Ms. Stenger, the team at
Dayton Children’s Hospital for their tremendous care, and their family at Berachah for helping them through the hard
times and offering continuous love and support!!
Keep up the great work, Davis!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Emily from Jefferson, OH!
Diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 14, Emily has played volleyball since she was 7 years old and has competed on the national teams for
Eastside Volleyball Club from 13-18’s. She earned a full athletic scholarship to Cleveland State University, where she has played in every match
since her freshman year. She even set a dig record her freshman year and made the All-Horizon League freshman team, as well
Honorable Mention her second year! She has reached and surpassed 1,000 digs in her career at CSU.
Emily is a nursing major and has a 3.95 GPA, earning her a spot on the All-Academic team for the Horizon League for two years as well.
Emily has been strong and courageous throughout her diagnosis, and has not let IBD interfere with her goals and dreams!
Keep up the great work, Emily!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Caleb from Cuyahoga Falls, OH!
Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at just 10 years old, he is now 16 and active in baseball, diving, and snowboarding – even
competing nationally for the past 3 years in Colorado! Just last month, Colin underwent a bowel resection surgery,
removing his colon and large intestines at Akron Children’s Hospital. He also uses Remicade and Entyvio treatments to keep
him ready for competition. Even though there have been dark days and difficult times, Caleb always stays optimistic and
takes everything this disease throws at him with a carefree attitude!
Way to go, Caleb – we are rooting for you!
Meet our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Shane from Aston, PA!
Shane is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease on April 5, 2019. Despite receiving Remicade
infusions every 28 days, he is a tremendous athlete – he sometimes goes straight from the hospital right to
the football field! He is a star running back on his football team, an aggressive rebounder on his
basketball team, and a leading scorer and defender on his lacrosse teams.
Although his Crohn’s has impacted his size, he is small but mighty! Not only is he is a leader on the field
and on the court, he is a great student and always helps other kids in need and is a friend to many!
Despite his battle with IBD, his smile still shines bright – Shane may have Crohn’s, but Crohn’s does not have Shane!
Bradley and James
This week’s Teammates of the Week are the talented duo of Bradley and James – brothers battling IBD!
From Hawaii and nominated by their mother Robin, below is their story:
“I would like to nominate not one, but two athletes for your teammate of the week. Both of my sons have been
diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. James, a senior, was diagnosed at age 15 after 6 months of tests to determine why
he was having crippling stomach pains. Two years later, his brother Bradley, a freshman, was diagnosed at age 14.
Both James and Bradley are competitive high school cross-country runners who compete at the state cross country championships.
In addition to cross country, James is an all-state athlete in swimming and golf. While there have been lots of ups and downs,
both boys are resilient and are determined to reach their athletic and academic goals. James and Bradley
are dedicated to eating clean and healthy to help them maximize their heath and athletic performance.
As their mother, I’m in awe at what they must overcome daily. I’m so proud of them and am honored to call them my sons!”
Way to go, Bradley and James!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Avi from New Jersey!
Nominated by his mom Nisha, Avi is 13 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was just 7 years old.
He suffered from chronic stomach distress and rapid weight loss, to the point that he almost had to stop playing
his favorite sport, soccer, due to exhaustion. Luckily, he was diagnosed within 3 months of noticing these symptoms
due to excellent care from Dr. Benkov at Mt. Sinai, and Avi was able to continue playing baseball, soccer and flag football!
Two years ago, Avi had to change his care regimen to bimonthly Humira injections and it took awhile for this flare
to subside. However, throughout this difficult time, he continued to play his sports and studied hard to maintain
high honor roll grades! When not playing sports, Avi loves to play video games, travel, and hang out with his friends and cousins!
Keep up the great work, Avi!
Our first AVC #TeammateoftheWeek for 2020 is Megan from Akron, OH!
Megan recently turned 18 and is a Senior at Walsh Jesuit High School. She was diagnosed with UC in February of 2015,
but has never let her diagnosis stop her from excelling on the volleyball court or in the classroom.
She carries a 4.3 GPA, was captain of her high school volleyball team, selected to the All-Ohio State Team and plays
on a National Junior Olympic Team at Academy Volleyball in Cleveland. Megan has recently fulfilled her dream to
play Division 1 Volleyball at Wake Forest University. She signed her National Letter of Intent on
November 13th and is beyond excited to officially be a Demon Deacon!
Megan’s journey to reach her dream hasn’t been an easy one – 3 years prior to her UC diagnosis, she was hospitalized
with Ovarian Cancer. Megan had to endure long hospital stays, multiple surgeries and chemotherapy.
This incredible young lady has been an inspiration to everyone who knows her! Her positive outlook and her
determination to reach her goals despite the many obstacles in her way is incredible to say the least. If history is any indication,
Megan is going to continue to do amazing things in the next stage of her life and we can’t wait to see where it takes her!
Way to go, Megan!
AVC’s last Teammate Tuesday of the decade is Colton from Saugus, CA!
Nominated by his mother Misty, Colton is 16 and a junior at Saugus High School. As the starting quarterback
for his team, Colton threw over 2,200 yards and 21 touchdowns this season! Powered by Remicade infusions every couple of weeks,
Colton has a great spirit and never complains about juggling sports with school work, weight training sessions,
and practices. He is a great leader and is always there to pick up a teammate when they are down.
Colton is a fighter and refuses to let IBD stand in his way, both on and off the field!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Ethan from York, PA!
Ethan is 8 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 4. He has had a rough road, including
a fecal transplant, ileosectomy, and multiple colonoscopies and endoscopies. However, Ethan fights with all
of his might and does not allow Crohn’s to hold him back. He is active in baseball and ice hockey – his team,
@yorkdevilshockey, even won a national tournament!
Ethan is an inspiration to many with his ability to play through the pain,
and thrive both on and off the ice!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Samuel from Harwood, Missouri!
Samuel is 13 years old and was diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis just after his 10th birthday.
The last year has been very tough for him – he lost 38 pounds and didn’t have the strength or energy to thrive personally
or athletically. Despite all of this, he bounced back and pushed himself to not only be a starter for his team,
but also a straight A student. Even when he was in pain and feeling sick, Samuel, with help of Remicade treatments,
showed up to every game and led his team in 3 point shooting!
We are so proud of Samuel and his ability to succeed – both on and off the court – with IBD!
Madison & Brandon
AVC #TeammatesoftheWeek are 2/3 from a set of TRIPLETS battling Crohn’s Disease! Madison and Brandon
even receive their Remicade infusions together every 8 weeks! Check out their awesome bios below:
Madison, age 17, was diagnosed with Crohn’s when she was just 12 years old. She has been dancing since she
was 5 and refuses to let her disease define her! Although she has to miss practices and rehearsals at times,
she puts in all the work that is required and puts on a brave face. So much so, that many people don’t event realize that she is sick!
She will not let Crohn’s derail her dreams of performing on stage, going to college, and pursuing a career in dance and theater!
Brandon is the oldest of the Davis triplets, and he was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 14. He never lets IBD
slow him down – in fact, he is a second degree black belt in Shotokan Karate and earning the nickname “Gumby” for his
flexibility! Even on days that he doesn’t feel like being active, he still was able to train to be the top ranked in his dojo
and he helps to train the younger kids as well! He has a great positive attitude which helps
him in his fight against Crohn’s!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Tyler from Rancho Cucamonga, CA!
Now 15 and a freshman in high school, Tyler was diagnosed with Crohn’s just after his 11th birthday. He went through
a very rough 2 years after diagnosis, including an ilium resection surgery, chemotherapy treatments for 9 months,
and ultimately Remicade infusions. Throughout this time, Tyler refuses to miss any practices or tournaments. Active in
water polo since he was 9, he received great support from this teammates and coaches, who wore #TeamTyler shirts to competitions.
Today, Tyler is a starter on the varsity team and is an amazing defensive player! He faces his opponents
like he faces Crohn’s – he doesn’t back down no matter how big of a challenge(r) he faces!
Tyler one day hopes to #GiveBack to the IBD community by designing and selling t-shirts to raise awareness.
Tyler is an athlete with big dreams who doesn’t let his disease stop him from achieving success!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Ani from Los Angeles, CA!
Nominated by her loving family and our friends @connectingtocure, Ani is a freshman in college and was diagnosed
with Crohn’s in 2015. Following a summer of accelerating symptoms, a colonoscopy and pill cam study,
the diagnosis was quickly confirmed. The disease came on fast and furious and took Ani down. She had lost 20 pounds
and could not go to school or dance for three entire months. As a 12-year competitive dancer who trained
25 hours a week, and drove 100 miles a day for her training, it seemed as if her life had stopped. After months in bed,
she realized that she needed to accept the cards that were dealt to her, and not let her disease define her. She returned to school,
albeit slowly at first, and began attempting the drive to Anaheim to rejoin the dance team that had supported
her during her difficult months and resume her training. Though the simple act of walking up a flight of stairs had
become a challenge, Ani was committed to becoming again the powerful athlete she had been. And she did it.
But in the spring of her sophomore year, she had her first flare and was hospitalized three weeks prior
to the biggest competition of her life, The Dance Worlds in Orlando, Florida. Determined to go, and not really well enough,
she travelled with her team. Despite her tentative state, she dug deep within her, rose to the occasion, and helped
her team place third in the world. Never had she been so proud or even so surprised by her own mental and physical tenacity.
She continued her good health and growth as a student and dancer for almost a full year before she was hospitalized for acute
Appendicitis. The doctors did not want to do surgery due to her Crohn’s Disease so she had to stay in the hospital for five days
on heavy IV antibiotics to clear the infected appendix. Another setback. Once again, she regained her strength,
and soon found herself immersed in the arduous college application process of junior and senior year. Ani’s resiliency, hard-work
and dedication to all of her crafts once again paid off as she was both accepted to her dream college, UCLA,
as a dance major and also made the highly competitive UCLA Dance Team. As the only freshman rookie on the dance team,
Ani is reunited with her sister Sydney, who is a senior and one of the Captains of the UCLA Dance Team.
Together with their team, they represent the Bruins at the Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion and are student-athlete ambassadors to the university.
Now thriving at UCLA and despite all of the obstacles that Crohn’s has thrown at her, (including an infection
in her colon the summer before she started) Ani continues to say “No Thank You” to letting her disease stop her from being
her best self; a student, athlete, dancer, daughter, sister, grand-daughter, sorority sister, friend, dreamer and number one fan of her dog, Cali.
We are cheering for you, Ani!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek, Drew from Windham, Maine!
Drew is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s in May of 2017. Drew has tried multiple medications,
but had allergic reactions to both, so he follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD.) He watches
his friends eat the standard American diet every day, but strictly adheres to his own plan, bringing his own food
everywhere he goes. Following this diet, he was able to gain 40 pounds and grow 6 1/2 inches! Drew never complains,
and no one would even know he had Crohn’s because he does not let the disease slow him down!
Academically, Drew is among the top in his class taking multiple Advanced Placement classes. Back in October,
his golf team qualified for states, AND he also qualified for states as an individual! Drew set this as a goal for himself
last year, and he put in many hours about five days every week last summer, all while working full time
at a family business. He is amazingly self-motivated and is a true role model for his peers, both on and off the course!
Way to go, Drew!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Edward from Williamsburg, Virginia!
We had the pleasure of meeting Edward and his wonderfully supportive family when they traveled
all the way from VA to Akron for our Cavs season kick-off event!
Edward is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s about a year and a half ago. He has truly embraced
the idea that adversity will help make him stronger, and he loves baseball and basketball!
Over the past year, he has never missed a game despite playing at less than 50% of his potential and battling
many flares. Edward is smart, kind, and determined to accomplish his goals in school, sports, and life despite this chronic illness!
Way to go, Edward!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Tommy from Cleveland, OH!
Nominated by his aunt Elizabeth, who also has Colitis and is a great ally for Tommy, was diagnosed with
UC 3 years ago after years of pain, flares, and hospital stays. Despite his condition, he fought every day to stay on the
football team at his school for 4 years. The most impressive thing about Tommy is his
attitude – he never gives up, never quits, and if he’s feeling down, you’d never know it. Tommy gives his
team everything he’s got, and he is truly fearless both on and off the field!
Stay strong, Tommy!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Andre from Bellingham, Washington!
Diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 13, Andre is now 18 and thriving both on and off the court! Nominated by our
friends at @propelacure, below is what Andre’s mom had to say about him:
“After a confounding, lingering illness lasting several months resulted in 13 year old Andre going down to less than
77 pounds, the physicians at Seattle Children’s Hospital identified the culprit: Crohn’s Disease. Regular infusions
have become a way of life, often sending him into soccer, football, and basketball practices directly
following the treatment. Andre has never allowed his medical condition to define him or limit his life. Even those
closest to him have likely never heard him comment, much less complain, about the pain or fatigue he experiences.
Working closely with his strength and conditioning coach/father, Andre, now 18, continues to develop into a strong,
athletic leader of his school’s varsity football and basketball teams. His character and outrageously
funny sense of humor balance with a keen intellect (he will graduate in June with both his high school diploma and
his A.A. degree before moving on to a university and athletic program.) While many who meet him will never
know of his illness, those of us who do know we have a hero walking amongst us. Andre’s got grit. Andre is our hero.”
Thanks for being such an inspiration, Andre!
We are thrilled to feature Emily from New York, who we had the pleasure of meeting at last year’s suite
night at Madison Square Garden!
Nominated by her dad Michael, Emily is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s last spring.
The diagnosis didn’t slow her down – she loves sports, is enthusiastic about learning and competing, and has taken all
of her tests and treatments in stride and continues to excel in the classroom, on the field/court and as a big sister!
Emily loves playing soccer (where her coach calls her Speedy Gonzalez,) basketball (where her tough defense
earned her the nickname Torpedo,) but her number one passion is softball, where she earned a starting spot on her
All-Star team this summer at second base. She wears #5 for her idol David Wright. Emily is a warrior and amazes her
family every day with her strength, resilience and kindness!
Way to go, Emily! ⚽️
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Christian from Arizona! Nominated by his mom Angela, Christian is 18 and
was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 5 years ago. Below is what his mom has to say about him:
“Christian was 13 and a level 5 gymnast having the best season of his life! 1st AA at every meet, including States
and Regional Championships! He was also losing weight and having incredible pain. He stopped the sport
he loved so we could find out what was wrong. He was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s and immediately started a host of drugs
and treatment. He began Remicade treatments a few months later, and continues them every 8 weeks.
He had to switch gyms because of a coach who didn’t understand his disease, and he also had to endure
elbow surgery due to overuse and muscle weakness from the steroids he had been on, but he came back!
This past season, he competed level 10 and even qualified to represent Arizona at the Region One Championships
in California! Now, he has decided to train elite with hopes of making the national team. In his spare time,
he also coaches younger team gymnasts and he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. At age 18, he just recently earned his
private pilot’s license! He wants to compete in Gymnastics in college and eventually become a commercial airline pilot!
He’s never complained and he’s never let Crohn’s stop him!”
Way to go, Christian – you are proof that IBD can’t stop you from reaching
your goals both personally and athletically!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Ethan from Massillon, OH!
Nominated by his family, Ethan is 18 and a senior at Jackson High School. Diagnosed with Crohn’s
at age 8 in response to failure to thrive, he has always had a love of running that has been hindered by his energy
levels and disease itself. Treatment has included remicade infusions every 8 weeks, as well as a double bowel resection
in 2015. His goal has been to qualify at the state level in running. In June of 2019, he accomplished
this dream by qualifying for States on a relay team!
Being a top sprinter does not stop Ethan from crossing over to long distance. Currently ranked #12
on a cross country team of 123 boys, Ethan’s drive and determination has earned him a spot as a squad leader,
teaching core beliefs of competition and running to others on the team. Ethan’s philosophy in running is to strive for your
personal best time rather than having to be the best on the team because when you do that, you are a winner!
Besides running, Ethan plays on a church league basketball team and loves music. Academically, Ethan
was presented with the rank of “Academic All-Ohio” by the OAT/CCC. Athletics have taken an introverted
boy and has increased his self esteem, drive, and determination.
Way to go, Ethan!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Sammy from Cleveland, OH! Nominated by her family,
Sammy is a collegiate runner suffering from Crohn’s disease. Below is what Sammy’s dad had to say about her:
“Growing up, Sammy was very active participating year round in multiple sports. When she was fourteen,
she became very sick and after being hospitalized, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. It took her awhile to build back
athletically, but by junior year, she was able to set the Ohio State Division 2 mile record. She continued to
struggle for years and in her junior year of college she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Despite her illness, Sammy
still ran for Villanova University and while she was there was an eleven time Big East performer,
second team All-American in the distance medley relay, and helped Villanova win a Championship of
America title in the 4×1500 meter relay at the Penn Relays.
After graduating from VU, Sammy transferred to Azusa Pacific University in CA to get her Masters in Public Health
where she is continuing to run. In mid-September, she was named the PacWest Runner of the week!
She has been hospitalized twice for an E-coli infection, but this has not deterred her. She has had to adjust her
training to her Crohn’s and it has made running painful and more difficult, but she has persevered!”
Way to go, Sammy!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Sohaib from Ontario, Canada! ??
Nominated by his mother Naheed, Sohaib was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 4. Now 12, he take vitamins daily
and receives infusion treatments every 5 weeks – which are definitely helping with his growth,
as Sohaib stands at 6’3”! (sounds like a member of the Nance family ?) Sohaib is a strong, ambitious young man
who loves basketball, and he is determined to be his best both personally and athletically.
Way to go, Sohaib!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is one of our favorite Crohnies and members of our family – Evan from Chicago!
Nominated by his mom @ksherman44, here is what she had to say about her awesome son:
“Evan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was just 7 years old. Since then, he’s made it his mission
to raise awareness and funds for finding a cure for what he calls ‘a crappy disease.’
Evan loves playing baseball and basketball, and looks up to Larry and Noah as his role models. Thank you AvC for proving
that Crohn’s & ulcerative colitis will NOT take the ‘athlete’ out of any of us!”
Today is Evan’s 10th birthday, so please join us in wishing him a fabulous day!!! What did he do to celebrate?!
Shave #22 in his hair ? Looks awesome Evan, and thanks for all you do for the IBD community – we are thrilled
to have you and your amazing family on our team vs. Crohn’s!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Hayley from Cleveland, OH!
Hayley is an avid/competitive tennis player who just started 8th grade. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s 2 years ago,
when her mom had to pull her from a tennis tournament because she had lost too much weight due to
undiagnosed IBD. She missed that entire summer of playing and practicing, and then had to sit out from competition
last summer due to a broken wrist. Despite these obstacles, Hayley has overcome her struggles to
get back on the court and compete – it took almost 2 years to build back her health, confidence and precision, but she did it!
Fun fact: Hayley was our very first AVC volunteer here in Cleveland at a fall event last year.
We are so proud of Hayley and her commitment to Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness!
Great job, Hayley!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Christian from Cincinnati, OH!
Now 18, Christian was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 8th grade after battling sickness and terrible flares
while playing football and lacrosse. Once he was finally diagnosed, finding the right medicine for him
was a fight – it took a year to finally find something that could do the job! Doctors didn’t think he would be able
to play sports anymore, but Christian has truly proved them wrong!! He is in medical remission
and has become an amazing athlete.
He continued to play lacrosse throughout his high school career, winning most valuable player his senior year
and scoring over 250 points. He even broke the school record for the most goals and points in a single game,
with 11 goals and 8 assists! The summer after high school, he played for the Ohio Collegiate Box Lacrosse League,
where his team won the Ohio Cup and then traveled to California and brought home the National Collegiate
Box Series Championship. He is now attending the University of the Cumberlands on a lacrosse scholarship.
What an inspiration – keep up the great work, Christian!!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Bobbie from Akron, OH!
Nominated by her mother Katherine, Bobbie is 11 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s
in April of this year after a long illness with significant weight loss and many tests and procedures.
Bobbie is a cheerleader for Akron Public Schools, and she has also been a part of gymnastics and horseback riding.
Bobbie is a strong, smart, and brave little girl with a heart of gold. Her smile brightens every room
she walks into. She loves making people laugh even when she is down and not feeling well,
she always fights through it. She is so excited for this cheer season to begin – even when she couldn’t
cheer last season due to illness she was in the stands supporting her team.
Bobbie is a true inspiration – you go, girl!!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Cory from Methuen, MA!
Cory is 18 years old and just began his freshman year of college. Diagnosed with Crohn’s in March of ‘17,
his IBD journey has been one with many ups and downs. Undergoing treatments including Remicade infusions,
steroids, and methotrexate, he ultimately underwent a resection in July of ‘17. Despite a 47 day hospital
stay and having 1.5 feet of his intestine removed, Cory never lets his illness slow him down.
He finished his high school baseball career as a standout starting pitcher for his varsity baseball team who
never missed a practice, as well as a straight A student. Cory is a true warrior who never gives up.
Way to go, Cory!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Emma from San Antonio, Texas!
Emma is 12 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2015. Since then, she has tried many different
medications to control the disease and is currently receiving infusions every six weeks,
which have been keeping her body happy and healthy. Over the past 3 years, she has maintained great grades
in school, remains on the honor roll, and is very active in soccer, cross country, track, basketball
and golf at her school. Throughout the year she also plays club soccer, a game she has loved since she was 5.
In her free time, she volunteers for many local charities including the CCFA Take Steps walk.
She is not shy about sharing her story and bringing awareness to this disease!
Keep up the great work, Emma!
We are thrilled to feature our very first INTERNATIONAL athlete – 15 year old Matthijs from Berlicum in The Netherlands!
Matthijs was diagnosed with UC in 2015, and has had to work very hard to regain his weight and strength.
He is very active in basketball and competes at the highest level in The Netherlands. He is very strong, focused,
talented and refuses to give up on the court. Despite daily medicines, anemia and stomach cramps,
he never misses a practice or workout session and refuses to let IBD slow him down.
Matthijs is excited for all the possibilities in his future and is determined to take care of of himself
so he can fulfill his dream of playing as a professional one day! Matthijs wants to be a role model in the Netherlands,
just like Larry is in the US, for all the kids with IBD. He realizes how lucky he is that he can do
all the things he wants, despite his Colitis. That’s due to the very good care at his hospital and the
availability of medicines. He is very thankful for that, and hopes to raise money for much needed research!
Keep up the great work, Matthijs!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Cayden from Kansas!
Cayden “CC” Carter was diagnosed with Crohn’s in June of 2018. She was showing symptoms long
before that, yet still managed to earn her black belt at age 13, earn the Girl Scout silver award and participate in
multiple extra-circular activities. The weekend before CC’s diagnosis, she played in 8 basketball games
in two days for her AAU team! During the last year, CC has had surgery for an abscess and fistula, and endured
8 weeks of a liquid only diet to combat a flare. She has battled frequent pain, months of iron infusions and Remicade infusions.
Despite this, CC has participated in volleyball, basketball and track. Additionally, she is part of the
symphonic orchestra at Shawnee Mission West High School. CC works to spread IBD awareness
with purple #CCConquersCrohns bands that can be seen all over her school and hometown.
CC fights Crohn’s with a smile and never complains!
Way to go, CC!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Simon from Illinois!
We had the pleasure of meeting Simon and his family at our AVC Awareness Day with the Chicago Bulls ?
Simon is 10 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s 14 months ago. Despite his illness, he enjoys
playing sports all year round! He loves basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, football,
wrestling and is excited to start playing water polo this summer. Simon has been taking piano lessons since
he was 5 and now moving onto percussions! His dream is to study at Duke University and play basketball for them.
Dream big and keep working hard, Simon!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Chandler from Pittsburgh, PA! Nominated by his loving family,
he was diagnosed with UC at age 11, and is now 22. Below is what they had to say about Chandler:
“Chandler has seen his share of highs and lows, more lows after initial diagnosis and the years to follow.
He had a bad flare at age 16 leaving him to sit out an entire year of sports while missing 65 days of school.
He was told he may never get back to playing sports the way he used to because of
how sick he was. He then took that information and used it as his fuel and motivation to make sure
he proved everyone wrong. He continues to not let this disease define who he is! Chandler is currently a junior
center fielder at Clarion University playing baseball. He aspires to get drafted and continue
his baseball career as far as he can take it. We are so proud of Chandler!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Addy from Seattle, Washington!
Nominated by her mom Tia, Addy is a rising high school senior and was diagnosed with UC in May of 2017.
She has worked very hard to maintain her commitment to year-round club and school swimming, putting in
6 days of practice each week. Addy has battled through ups and downs with her IBD, and has
established a reputation for being a leader in and out of the pool. She has even been named
captain of her swim team for her senior year.
Keep up the great work, Addy!
Today, we are proud to feature Dwight from Cincinnati, OH! Dwight (#1) was nominated by
his twin brother, Eli (#15.) Below is what Eli had to say about his brother:
“I would like to nominate Dwight, my twin brother, best friend and teammate for#TeammateoftheWeek.
Dwight was diagnosed with Crohn’s a year and a half ago when he was just 12. When he was first diagnosed at
Cincinnati Children’s hospital, I passed out (it’s a twin thing.) He has Remicade treatments there every
6 weeks and Dwight always shows courage and strength and never complains. He has been resilient
and once he gained his weight back, came back to the court even stronger. Dwight and I share everything
but not this disease. He is definitely deserving of this award!”
Way to go, Dwight, and thanks to Eli for being such a great support!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Nick from Cincinnati, OH!
Nominated by his mother Tina, Nick was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease 4 years ago when he was just 12.
He struggled with weight loss and stunted growth, measuring just 4’11” and 72 lbs. Today, he is a 160 lb, 5’11” 16-year-old
young man who is throwing shotput for track and field at his high school, marching in the marching band
and is very active in theater. He is an inspiration to everyone he meets.
Great job, Nick!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is @chaseverrastro13 from Amherst, NY!
Nominated by his mom Andrea, Chase is 13 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 9.
His path to his diagnosis was a long one – including endless lab tests, endoscopy and colonoscopies,
and bimonthly Humira injections. Last spring, Chase began to experience his first flare of symptoms.
Throughout this time, he continued to play basketball and endured a grueling lacrosse try-out for his school.
Chase dug his heels in, worked very hard at becoming as healthy as possible, and made the “A” team,
all while maintaining honor roll grades!
Way to go, Chase!
We are thrilled to honor Abby from Conneaut, OH!
Nominated by her coach, Abby was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was in 7th grade.
She receives infusions every 7 weeks and takes medicine and vitamins everyday. Abby competed
on the JV basketball team this season, and according to her coach, she works extremely hard,
pushes herself to the limits, and is a joy to be around. She is a great teammate and despite
everything she goes through, she never complains or makes excuses, and maintains straight As in school!
Keep up the great work, Abby!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Dylan Lewis from Texas!
He is 15 and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in September of 2017. Dylan loves basketball
and has been playing since he was 4 years old. He is on his high school basketball team, is an honor student
and is active in student council. He also enjoys volunteering and partnering with his local Special Olympics
program, and playing video games! Dylan’s journey with Crohn’s has not been easy so far – he has tried
many different medications, seen several different doctors, and follows a very strict diet. But recently,
he started new medication and seems to finally be on his way to remission!
Way to go, Dylan!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Coben from Akron, OH!
10-year old Coben was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 6 years old, after years of hospitalizations,
surgeries, and tests. Malabsorption and inflammation have affected his kidneys and muscles, and Coben must take
18 medications each day and be fed through his g-tube every 45 minutes to stay healthy and grow.
Although he is often tired, Coben is always smiling and he never gives up.
He loves to downhill ski and play tennis. He also enjoys playing 4-square
on the playground with his friends and watching his hometown hero Larry Jr. play basketball.
Great job, Coben!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek London from California!
London is a 15 year old honor student wrapping up his freshman year at Ramona High School.
He started playing baseball when he was four and played through for many years despite being diagnosed
with UC when he was nine. That first year was rough for him – missing 22 days of school in one
month while still earning straight A’s.
A little over a year ago, he decided to try basketball and he fell in love with the sport. He played a season in
a local league before making the freshman team at his school last season. He plans on sticking with basketball
for the remainder of high school, and wants to play for Stanford or UCLA some day.
Way to go, London!!
Sam from Lockport, NY is our #TeammateoftheWeek!
Sam is 10 years old, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s 3 years ago. Active in premiere travel soccer,
basketball, baseball, and football, he refuses to let his battle with the disease keep him off the field.
Sam is also a big Buffalo Bills fan and an avid golfer.
Go, Sam, go!
Meet Camille from New Jersey, our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek!
Camille was diagnosed in 2015 with severe and complicated Crohn’s Disease, that quickly ulcerated
her entire GI system, from her mouth to the colon, within 3 weeks. After being hospitalized for a
month that year, Camille has fought back, through many ups and downs in her condition, and worked
tirelessly to regain her weight, strength, and her skills on the field and on the track. She has learned
how to use the SCD diet, medicine and natural remedies to keep her symptoms and flares from
Crohn’s Disease under control. Camille is excited for all the possibilities in her future and is
determined to be a champion for others as she chooses a career!
Way to go, Camille!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Gregory from Belfair, WA!
Nominated by his mother Tabitha, he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2015. Now 11,
Gregory is active in basketball, football, and baseball, and plays on multiple all-star and tournament teams!
Gregory is strong, focused, talented, and refuses to give up on the court, field, or fighting UC!
Keep up the great work, Gregory!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Jake from Whiteville, NC!
After traveling throughout the summer playing baseball, he started feeling very weak and rapidly
losing weight. Diagnosed with Crohn’s in August of 2018, Jake is now a junior at Whiteville High School
where he has lead his team to 2 state championships! Committed to continue his athletic career
at NC State University, Jake says that Crohn’s has just been a “bump in the road,” and is determined to
take care of himself so he can fulfill his dream of playing college baseball and hopefully
as a professional one day!
Great job, Jake!
Meet our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek, Joe Watson!
Diagnosed with Crohn’s in September of 2018, he is active in football and baseball and never
misses a practice, workout, or conditioning session. Despite hospital stays, flares, monthly
Remicade infusions, and multiple medications, Joe refuses let IBD slow him down – he takes
it all in stride and absolutely can’t be stopped!
Great job, Joe!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Nicholas from Pennsylvania!
Nominated by his mom Nicole, Nick has been playing ice hockey since he was 4 years old.
Diagnosed with UC at age 13, he has managed to keep a brave face and has never once given up on
his love for the game. He continues to work hard, compete, and is a strong leader both on and off the ice!
Now 18, Nick aspires to play hockey in college.
Keep up the great work, Nicholas!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek @ali.reigle20 from New York!
Nominated by her mom Betsey, Ali was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 12. Now 16, she has found a passion
for distance running and enjoys cross country, as well as both indoor and outdoor track. Ali’s journey with
IBD hasn’t been easy – she has dealt with anemia, weight loss, fatigue and stomach cramps.
Despite all of this, she never complains about her challenges and has found a way to use the lessons
she has learned from living with Crohn’s to encourage her teammates when they encounter struggles of their own.
Ali is currently in remission, receiving infusion treatments every 6 weeks, and is on honor roll at her school.
Way to go, Ali!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Akiva from Cleveland, OH!
Nominated by his mom Hilary, Akiva was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was 9.
Despite the challenges that his condition has presented, Akiva has never let IBD stand in his way.
He has continued to play on the soccer and basketball teams and enjoys boxing at Title Boxing Club.
Akiva started high school last fall and is a member of the JV basketball team. Off the court,
you can find him hanging out with his friends.
Huge shout out to Dr. Foley, Dr. Kaplan, Lauren, and Akiva’s whole team at the Cleveland Clinic
for keeping Akiva healthy!!
Our AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Javen!
Javen is 11 years old and lives in West Texas. He loves playing ⚾️ , ? , ⚽️ , ?️♀️ and ESPECIALLY ?.
He does all of this while attending junior high, being active in his school’s theater program and
earning A averages in all of his classes. Javen had his first surgery when he was 10 months old,
and was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 16 months. Since then, he has taken over 13,000 doses
of medication and has been hospitalized numerous times. He takes this all in stride and uses his
illness as a means to educate and inspire others!
Awesome job, Javen!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek Jakob, who is 16 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s four years ago!
When first diagnosed, he was in the 5th percentile for height and weight, and falling behind physically
as his peers continued to grow. After trial & error with various medications & dosages, he finally started Remicade.
He is now in the 50th percentile at 5’7” and still growing! Jakob has wrestled since he was 8 years old,
and impressively lettered in Varsity as a freshman. He is currently taking a break from wrestling this year
and pursuing his passion to be on American Ninja Warrior in a couple years!
Way to go, Jakob!
AVC #TeammateoftheWeek is Owen from Cleveland, OH!
Nominated by his parents, Owen loves soccer and has been playing since kindergarten. Last summer, his parents noticed
that he was not acting like himself – he had low energy during his baseball season – and was losing weight.
Following extensive testing and a hospital stay, Owen was ultimately diagnosed with Crohn’s in August.
Despite his struggles, Owen always has a smile on his face and his positive outlook on life inspires his family and friends daily.
Great job, Owen!
AVC’s #TeammateoftheWeek is @juliaphilbrickk from San Marcos, CA!
Nominated by her dad @edphilbrick.homes, Julia is a 15 year old freshman killing it for her school
volleyball team. She also plays for a traveling Club, which has taken her to Vegas, Phoenix, and more for tournaments!
Diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 11, Julia is unstoppable both on and off the court and won’t let IBD
keep her from pursuing her dreams of playing volleyball in college.
Keep up the great work, Julia!
Meet AVC #TeammateoftheWeek @elias.rimel21‼️
Nominated by his brothers Andrew & Colin, Elias is. 15 year old HS sophomore from Maryland.
Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 6, Elias plays basketball and baseball. He has a positive attitude
and encourages his teammates to work hard in practices and competitions. Elias receives Remicade infusions
every 6 weeks to keep his symptoms under control so he can stay on the court as a player and a
rec league referee! When not playing sports, Elias likes fishing and playing Fortnite with his friends.
Way to go, Elias!!
AVC Teammate of the Week is Ryan from Cleveland!
Nominated by his mom @maureen920, Ryan is 9 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s
back in July. Like Larry, Ryan receives his treatment from the awesome care team at the
Cleveland Clinic, and he is active in basketball, baseball, and soccer. He is a true example of not
letting IBD stop him from reaching his goals both on and off the court.
Way to go, Ryan!! ?
AVC’s #TeammateoftheWeek is @caleb_badura from Nebraska!
Nominated by his father @mrbadura, Caleb is a freshman in college and was diagnosed
with Crohn’s in 8th grade. Caleb was a 2 time State Golf Champion in high school – despite having an
emergency ileostomy his senior year – and now competes at a high level as a member of the
@northwestcollege Golf Team! He even won his first collegiate meet back in August and led his team
with a 72.7 scoring average after the fall season.
Caleb is an amazing role model for other kids battling IBD!
AVC’s Teammate of the Week is Jake from Massachusetts!
Nominated by his mom Jenn, Jake is 15 years old and was diagnosed Ulcerative Colitis
right before his 13th birthday. Jakes battle with UC hasn’t been easy, including long hospital stays,
difficult flares, and eventually surgery that left him with an ostomy and j-pouch. Despite all of this,
Jake still remains positive and refuses to let IBD keep him from focusing on football, basketball, and his education.
Way to go, Jake!!
AVC’s #TeammateoftheWeek is Harrison, a high school sophomore who has been living with Crohn’s Disease since he was 12 years old.
When he was diagnosed, Harrison was playing AAU basketball and continued to do so
despite never being in full remission. Harrison has participated in the USA Basketball 3×3 tournaments
in Colorado Springs, and continues to train, practice and play the sport he loves while maintaining
Honor Roll grades. Harrison is hoping to play college basketball, and have a career in sports
management, broadcasting, or journalism.
Way to go, Harrison!
Our AVC Teammate of the Week is @laurc_13 from Cleveland, OH!
Nominated by her dad @cohen_brady, Lauren is 13 and has been fighting Crohn’s since
being diagnosed four years ago. Lauren has many athletic interests, but her favorite activity is yoga.
She spends hours each week exercising and uses yoga to help her clear her mind and focus on positive things in life!
What an inspiration Lauren is?
Our first Teammate of the Week for 2019 is Kyle, a high school sophomore who was
nominated by his mother Erin.
Kyle is active in lacrosse, and his team has won back to back championships during 2 undefeated seasons!
The journey has not always been easy for Kyle – he has faced significant weight loss, reactions to multiple
medications, resection surgery, and more. In spite of all the setbacks, Kyle stays resilient and
is happy to be back to playing the game he loves and fighting hard for his teammates!
Way to go, Kyle!!
AVC Teammate of the Week is Anthony from Las Vegas!
Anthony was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 4 and has a passion for martial arts. He is also a straight A student
and hopes to become a college professor. When asked about the effects of his disease, Anthony says
that the adversity “has made me stronger, more resilient, able to handle stressful circumstances, and more able to cope during difficult times.”
Great job, Anthony!!<
AVC Teammate of the Week is Joshua from Ohio!
Lovingly known as “The Colitis Fighter,” Joshua is 6 years old and was diagnosed with IBD
one year ago. He’s had a tough year: colonoscopy and endoscopy to diagnose IBD, oral surgery,
infusions every 8 weeks, sick with 2 ear infections, strep throat, mono, and 30 days of missed kindergarten.
Despite all of these setbacks, Josh is always so positive! Even while he’s fighting his own battles,
he maintains a spirit of compassion towards others. Every time he visits the hospital, he brings something
to leave for other patients so he can spread joy to others.
Way to go, Joshua!!
A very special AVC Teammate of the Week is Hunter Moran.
We were honored to meet Hunter and his family to award him with the 2018
Athletes vs. Crohn’s and Colitis Scholarship Award! Hunter is a standout volleyball player
and was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 13. Hunter’s journey to success has been
a difficult one – stunted growth, rapid weight loss, multiple surgeries, long hospital
stays – but his positive attitude and resilient spirit have driven him to the top of his class
both on and off the court. As a senior, he is an honors student and captain for his state championship team.
We are SO proud of Hunter and thrilled to have him as a member of the AVC family!
AVC Teammate of the Week is Bella Grace from Texas, who is 13 years old
and was diagnosed with Crohn’s in December of 2016.
Bella loves softball and has been playing since she was 3 years old. She also plays basketball
and flag football for her school. Bella is active in her local pediatric IBD support group, and enjoys going to the
meetings and being around kids like her. Her journey with Crohn’s hasn’t been easy, visiting many doctors,
lots of testing, and following a strict diet, but she is now in remission and works hard every day to stay that way!
Awesome job, Bella!!
Jonas of Canton, Ohio, is 13 years old and was nominated by his mom Elizabeth.
Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 9, Jonas plays soccer at one of the highest levels in the nation and he
have traveled all over the country for games and showcases. He also enjoys basketball, running track,
swimming and golf. When he’s not playing sports, studying for school as a straight A student, or helping his
mom in the kitchen (Jonas and his family have adopted the SCD diet, which avoids any processed foods,
starches, carbs, and sugar,) chance is he’s playing Fortnite!
Great job, Jonas!!
AVC Teammate of the Week is Jared from New York!
Jared was nominated by his mom Stephanie and was diagnosed with Crohn’s in August of 2017 at age 11.
He had spent all summer away at camp, and when he came home after 7 weeks, he looked unhealthy
and continued to be sick. With the help of pediatricians, Jared was diagnosed quickly and immediately started
Remicade. When he came home from camp, he was 4’7’’ and weighed 68 pounds. At his last check up, he
was 4’11’’ and 95 pounds! Jared is back to playing ice hockey and is feeling like a brand new kid.
Great job, Jared!
Julia Smith of Minneapolis is our first honoree:
We are thrilled to shout out Julia Smith of Minneapolis, who was nominated by her mother Barb. Despite being
diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Julia still shines as captain of her high school dance team and is an honor student.
After graduation, she plans to go to college and major in pre-med to become a pediatric GI.
Way to go, Julia!!