Below is a post from Lauren, our first Intense Intestines Scholarship winner.
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Beach and I am so thankful to announce that I am the winner of the first ever-Intense Intestines Foundation Scholarship. I am so blessed to have not only won, but to be the first winner of the scholarship. It is my hope that this scholarship award will continue to help future students in similar situations as myself. Getting through college in four years is hard enough for a healthy person and adding Crohn’s Disease and an ostomy into that mix, makes for a much more difficult and longer journey through the college years. Receiving this scholarship is going to be a huge help when I return to Merrimack College in the fall of 2013 to pursue my degree in psychology and human development.
Now, to let you all know a little bit about myself, I am 21 years old as of last month, and have been battling Crohn’s since I was 12 years old. I had it rough through my middle school and high school years, exhausting my use of nearly every medication as well as spending most of my life in the bathroom or in a hospital bed. It was not until my freshman year of college when everything went downhill quickly. I started school at The University of Massachusetts Amherst and barely made it through that first semester. I spent the next semester at home figuring out which college might be more manageable with my disease. I had decided I would go to Merrimack College later that year, as it was smaller and closer to home.
A month before I was to go to school, I wound up back in the hospital with a complete bowel obstruction and was taken into emergency surgery. When I woke up, I had a temporary colostomy bag. Two months later, the surgeons and doctors decided my disease was still taking a toll on my body and the ostomy would need to be more permanent. I had a section of my colon removed in the winter of 2011, and received a more permanent colostomy. After those two surgeries I managed to get to Merrimack College for a semester and a half before I wound up back in the hospital…. again. It was determined no medication was keeping this disease away from my colon, and the whole thing needed to come out. I now have a permanent ileostomy, and of course colon-less.
That surgery took place in December of 2012 and by that time in my college career I had taken a total of 3 semesters off and was a year behind from where I should be. I just had a smaller surgery to get rid of a blockage of scar tissue in my small intestine this past June for a total of 4 surgeries in 2 years. However, I am now feeling the best I have ever felt in my entire life. As a wise person I met through having Crohn’s once said, “No Colon, Still Rollin” and it’s true as that.
There was a point in my life during these last two years where I wanted to give up school entirely. I felt like this disease had beaten me, and that there was no way I could ever go back to college, let alone go back with an ostomy. However, I kept on keeping on, I kept pushing. I never gave up and now look where I am today. I have won a scholarship, which is going to help me through another semester. It is going to help me get one step closer to reaching my goal in psychology. My wish is to be able to work with kids through whatever challenges they are dealt in life. I hope that by having been through some hardships myself, I will be able to show compassion and empathy toward the people I will someday work with.
So again, I want to say thank you to all at the Intense Intestines Foundation. You have given me more hope to stay in school and to reach my goal that I have battled to pursue. And a word of hope for all others battling IBD through their college career- Don’t let this thing beat you, and don’t let it make you think you can’t do something or reach a goal. IBD will never hold any of us back, and together we can fight it and someday find a cure.
Never Stay Quiet!
To help others with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and ostomies, please click the link below and make a contribution to the Intense Intestines Foundation which will allow us to continue our mission.