Oh boy. Our story.
We became fast friends during the first week of freshman year. We lived in the same dorm and it was initially our ability to match each others chaotic energy that brought us together. We started hanging out with each other and it wasn't until an unsuspecting sushi dinner about a week later that we found out we both have Crohn's -- and let me tell you, it was the craziest shit ever.
We were shocked, and filled with adrenaline, and a little bit speechless. We were each the first person the other had connected with who also had Crohn’s.
Between the two of us, we have had three surgeries, 10+ colonoscopies, three months in the hospital, many medications, and an unknown number of pokes and needles. Before college, the worst part of it all was not having a confidant who truly understood. However, meeting someone who understood the daily struggles has had the biggest impact on our college experiences.
Since then, in under a year, we have become best friends first, Crohnies second. We have lived together, camped together, and even sky-dived together (more than once) -- and we're only just beginning. Together our drive for adventure is unparalleled and we only bring out the 'carpe diem' mentality out in each other more. We know the best and worst of each other and love all of it. Emma's the idealist, Avani's the realist. We compliment each other, we challenge each other, and above all, we understand each other. We support each other in everything we do because we know that the little victories matter and that progress is progress no matter how small.
Together, we were inspired to start our own non-profit to help other college students with IBD find resources and connect with others so that they can find the type of unique connection that we have. People with chronic illnesses have unique challenges and barriers starting college: finding new doctors, staying consistent with medications, navigating student services for accommodations in addition to new friendships, teachers, and relationships. We want to share our story so that other people do not feel like they have to tackle this isolating disease alone.
Our story feels unique -- we hope that IBDU can change that.