Jayden Watmough was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 16-years-old.
Now two years later and in her final year at Okanagan Mission Secondary, she finds the disease manageable, thanks to medication and technology.
When she was first diagnosed, she said adjusting was difficult but had the support of her friends and family.
“Finding medications, we’ve come so far in the past 20 years. People with Crohn’s didn’t have a great life back then, but the medications now let us lead a pretty normal healthy life,” she said.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
She was thankful for the diagnosis, as she finally received an answer for her symptoms. Watmough said she used to hate the disease but as time went on she became comfortable with living with it.
Her hobbies include snowboarding, dirt biking and spending time with friends, all of which she can do while living with Crohn’s disease.
Watmough will be walking in Kelowna’s third annual Gutsy Walk this Sunday, which is part of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s largest single-day fundraiser.
One in every 150 Canadians is affected by the disease, according to the nonprofit’s web site.
The Kelowna Gutsy walk started three years ago because of the need and the opening of a Crohn’s and Colitis chapter here.
“It came out of the need for peer support in the area,” said B.C. and Yukon development coordinator Susan Hampton.
This year, Kelowna’s chapter is aiming to raise $23,900 and see around 200 participants.
Canada wide, the aim is $3.6 million.
“It’s a disease that people basically suffer in silence, it’s an invisible disease. One of the key things we do in the chapters is to raise awareness,” said Hampton.
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada provides funding for research and provides peer support.
The walk in Kelowna takes place Sunday, June 4 at the Jubilee Grandstand in City Park. Registration is at 9:30 a.m. and the walk is at 11 a.m. For more information www.gutsywalk.ca.