One of the hardest things about the past 11 years battling chronic pancreatitis – harder than the gut wrenching pain, the nausea, the inability to eat without setting off a chain reaction of symptoms – is the loneliness. Even surrounded by family and friends who love me, and who have been there for me over and over again, I often feel alone.
Chronic illness does that to you because much of what goes on when you’re sick happens internally. And I’ve gotten very good at keeping a lot of that hidden. I don’t want the world to see me only as this “sick” woman. I don’t want people to give up on me, and so I put on a face to the world that is often far from the woman I feel.
Now imagine being a child. Imagine experiencing all these horrible symptoms from a disease that has no cure, and trying to understand why your body is failing.
The loneliest people I see are those whose child (or children) are battling pancreatic disease. Their faces reach me like a beacon of despair, their pain hits me squarely in my heart.
There are few things more difficult than taking care of a chronically sick child. A child who is looking to you for the answers. That aching loneliness becomes a part of you.
Which is why this year I’m raising funds for the National Pancreas Foundation in honor of children with pancreatic disease and The Pancreas Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) provides hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting edge research, advocating for new and better therapies, and providing support and education for patients, caregivers, and health care professionals.
Founded in 1997, the National Pancreas Foundation is the only organization dedicated to a cure for all diseases of the pancreas.
The Cincinnati Children’s Pancreas Care Center is one of a handful of centers in the United States dedicated to caring for children with pancreatic diseases. Their multidisciplinary team treats patients from around the world, taking a centralized approach to provide diagnosis and effective therapies, including pain management.
In addition, Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few hospitals in the country offering total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplantation (TPIAT) for children with debilitating chronic pancreatitis.
According to their website: “Patients come to the center from across the country and around the world to receive expert diagnosis and advanced care for acute, recurrent and chronic pancreatitis, as well as pancreatic tumors, pancreatic insufficiency and pancreatic birth defects.”
The center works closely with the National Pancreas Foundation and is part of the #4 ranked GI Division in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
My goal is to match the $5000 I raised for the NPF in 2015, but to do that, I’m reaching out to my village for help.
I need you.
The kids need you.
I’m asking you to join me by clicking here to donate to my campaign. There is no amount too small. No effort insignificant. I thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Please feel free to share this post with my gratitude.
I heart your heart! 💜💜