By Abigail Loop
Dominique Lewis was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Now, 12 years later he is an encouragement to others fighting the disease.
Lewis will be the “Hero of the Walk” during the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis walk in Waco, which supports those who have inflammatory bowel diseases during ulcerative colitis awareness month.
Check-in and registration for the walk will begin at 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at Cameron Park’s Redwood Shelter.
The event is sponsored nationally by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Interested participants can register as part of a team or as individuals for free online at the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis website, ccfa.org, or register during the event. While the walk is free to the public, the organization requests a $25 donation.
The funds raised will be used for further medical research, according to the foundation’s website.
Derek Dodson, walk coordinator, said the event has happened in Waco for the past three years and is a chance for people to come together and break through the loneliness this disease can bring upon people.
“The walk is really family oriented, there’s a sense of camaraderie in it,” Dodson said. “Many patients who suffer from these diseases are isolated and feel uncomfortable talking about it. The community comes together to show support and show that they’re not alone.”
Dodson said the walk has received a good outcome each year and has volunteers from student groups such as Baylor’s Medical Service Organization.
“Eighty cents of every dollar goes directly to research and patient care,” Dodson said. “Last year we raised $11,000 and this year our goal is $13,000. We’re always hopeful for a good outcome.”
Lewis’ participation as the “Hero of the Walk” serves a reminder that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 13 and 15, according to the organization’s website. It is very rare for anyone under the age of 8 to be diagnosed.
Lewis’ mother, Stacy Lewis, said watching her son go through Crohn’s disease was heartbreaking and but she is looking forward to his participation in this event where he will serve as a reminder of the disease’s effect on the young.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of Crohn’s disease and how debilitating it is,” she said. “This walk is a wonderful thing to support each other and it’s awesome to be able to have a support team.”
More information about the walk can be found by contacting Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting ccfa.org.