Twins with IBD Raising Money, Awareness in Take Steps Initiative of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Twins with IBD Raising Money, Awareness in Take Steps Initiative of Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Jamie Mendelsohn and Jill Theisen are 39-year-old twins who have been living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of diseases that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both twins are involved in the Take Steps initiative from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and have set a goal of $100,000 for this year's event. Jamie and Jill were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in their 20s -- Jamie in 1999 and Jill in 2002. Both experienced different IBD journeys. Jamie spent the first few years with ulcerative colitis on a variety of medications and being in and out of the hospital. She had a colectomy, an ileostomy, and more than a dozen blood transfusions in 2004. Later that year, she had a second surgery to reconnect her small intestine and create a j-pouch. She thrived following the surgery until 2007 when she began experiencing pyoderma gangrenosum (a serious skin condition with painful sores), fistulas, and other extraintestinal manifestations. She has lived with an ileostomy since 2011 after being re-diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Jill was diagnosed three years after Jamie. She lived with minimal symptoms and had a healthy pregnancy. She became sick following her daughter's birth and in 2007 had surgery to remove her colon and underwent reconnection surgery three months later. Since her surgery, she has been able to maintain a good life with her family and a career. CCFA, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases, has invested more than $267 million in IBD research, with studies showing promising new results for
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