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Shrewsbury: “Kicking Butt for Crohn's 5K”
August 24, 2013
Shrewsbury – On Saturday, Aug. 24 the “Kicking Butt for Crohn's 5K” will be held at Dean Park in Shrewsbury. One of the forces behind this event is 14-year-old James Canzano, who was inspired last year to organize a 5K to raise awareness for this disease, after witnessing his family's personal struggle with it.
The second annual “Kicking Butt for Crohn's 5K” will be also be a way to shed light on a disease that although can be hard to talk about at times, affects nearly 1.4 million Americans.
James has two sisters that have both been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. His older sister, Annie, 16, was diagnosed in 2010, and his younger sister, Mary, 13, was diagnosed in May.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea. While those diagnosed vary in symptoms and age, the disease is linked to being an immunological, bacterial and environmental disorder that can be passed down genetically.
The Canzano family believes that the disease can be traced back to their early ancestors. Annie also has colitis, another severe inflammatory bowel disease.
“When she was first diagnosed, she had to give up food for almost a month straight,” James said. “She has been in and out of the hospital and it can be tough for any family to have to deal with their strict diet needs.”
Young people diagnosed with Crohn's often need medical and parental supervision and, in some cases, multiple colonoscopies.
“I just wish something could be done to help this disease,” James noted. “My sisters have to struggle every day to prepare their medication and their meals. My sister Annie was diagnosed in the eighth grade and that year she had perfect attendance. She takes pills several times a day and needs to be excused frequently throughout the day.”
James feels that because his sister does so well in school most people still don's know she has the disease. Calling it a “quiet disease” because people don's want to talk about it, he said it still is a daily struggle for his sisters.
The Canzanos stay away from serving certain foods, such as beef, peanuts, corn and sweets, at the family dinner table. And, he noted, “In our house, life revolves around using the bathroom.”
With his father Dana's help, James started the first annual Kicking Butt for Crohn's 5K in August 2012.
In the inaugural year, there were 200 volunteers and racers. This year's race will coincidentally take place three years exactly after Annie was diagnosed with Crohn's.
Although James is an avid runner and sees five kilometers as a “cakewalk,” he emphasized that the race is all about his two sisters, his family and those suffering with Crohn's.
“I always like to know that I am helping my sisters out,” he said. “I probably won's get sleep the night before because I am too excited. When that horn goes off, 200 people will be running to find a cure. Our family is not alone and it is great to know that we have the support of everyone in the race helping to finding a cure.”
The race will be taking place at Dean Park on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 9 a.m. Those interested in signing up or volunteering can visit www.kickingbuttforcrohns.org for more information. Donations may also be sent to: Kicking Butt for Crohns, 6 Holman Heights Cir., Shrewsbury, MA 01545.