Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis- post event press

Friends, family take steps to raise money to cure Crohn's
By KATHLEEN L. RADCLIFF
Published: Friday, June 27, 2008 9:37 AM EDT

Katherine Raderstorf lived a pretty typical and active life as one of three triplets, until the summer before she was to enter the eighth grade.

"I was having quite a lot of pain, all summer long," she said.

When September came and summer left, the pain didn't.

Finally, after a lot of tests, in November 2004, Katherine learned what was causing her to be in pain -- Crohn's disease.
It's a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It primarily causes breaks in the lining of the small and large intestines, but can affect the digestive system anywhere, according to information from MedicineNet.

The disease also can cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye.

There is no known drug-based or surgical cure for Crohn's disease and treatment options are restricted to controlling symptoms, putting and keeping the disease in remission and preventing relapse.

Katherine led Team Raderstorf at the "Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis" event in Bicentennial Park June 14. Katherine and Team Raderstorf were led by the Bishop Watterson Drum Line, said Watterson spokeswoman Lynn Winters.

The Central Ohio walk was a part of a national effort to raise awareness about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, to raise funds for a cure and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases, Take Steps Manager Joy Watson said in an information release.

More than 60,000 people in Central Ohio are afflicted by either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, she said.

"At first, it was pretty scary," Katherine said, when she and her Clintonville family, including her triplet siblings Grace and Rose, and her younger brother, Brian, learned of her diagnosis.

Following the news, Katherine said her treatment involved surgery, bloodwork, lots of routine checkups and lots of different medicines.

"I started out with taking 15 medicines a day, including (nutritional) supplements and vitamins," she said.

Katherine will be a senior at Bishop Watterson High School this fall. Today, she said, she is down to taking four medicines a day, as well as her nutritional supplements and vitamins.

"I'm feeling great," she said, following a trip to Cleveland to visit family prior to the Take Steps event.

"But, I really have to stay on top of my health."

Indulging in dairy products is a strict "no-no" for her, she said. Otherwise, Katherine said she is pretty busy spending her summer, "just hanging out with my friends," she said.

"We like to shop, go to the pool or go and see a movie,"

"They are always there for me," she said, regarding her friends and family. "They are really supportive and always look out for me."

While she has her senior year to complete at Watterson, and is still thinking about what she would like to do after graduation, "I think I would like to study nutrition," she said.

As far as words of wisdom she would like to share with anyone who is facing a diagnosis of Crohn's disease or colitis, she said,

"The most important thing to do is to just keep your head up."

"It's really hard and scary at first, and you should surround yourself with family and friends, and work with your doctors," she said.

For more information about the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, visit ccfa.org.