For Christina Coburn, going to an overnight summer camp has always been a dream – but not necessarily one she thought she’d be able fulfill.
This week, however, the 14-year-old will be joining other teens in Bragg Creek, Alberta at Camp Got2Go, a week long camping trip for teens living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
As a nine-year-old, Christina developed inflammation throughout her gastrointestinal tract (GI), making eating and weight gain very difficult.
For the next three years Christina suffered intense pain while doctors tried to develop a plan to deal with her condition, making it hard for her to participate in family and school activities.
By the time she was 12, doctors were able to find the right mix of medicine given intravenously every eight weeks to help ease the pain and moved her to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which eliminates sugars, starch, wheat and dairy from her daily food intake. Her life changed dramatically.
Although doctors were unsure what was causing the condition, eliminating specific foods seems to have allowed her digestive system to cope well, said her father Graham.
“I love to play sports and I like to be active so it was really hard,” she said “I wasn’t able to go on hikes or bike rides with my family but now I feel great.”
Although Crohn’s is a life-long condition, Christina is now delighted to be healthy and in control. And she’s really looking forward to spending time with kids like her, swimming, climbing and river rafting and she is hoping to one day be a role model to others.
Christina is one of 250,000 Canadians living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (1 in 150) and among the 20-30 percent diagnosed before the age of 20.
In order to attend Camp Got2Go children must complete a series of medical authorization forms signed by their doctor outlining their condition and progress.
Camp Got2Go attendees are sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Jannsen Inc.
For more information go to http://campgot2go.ca