The 14-year-old was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about a year ago, according to St. Catherine’s School Principal Ruth Pelletier.
“I’m hoping that a lot of people can come out as a part of my team to help raise awareness for this disease,” said Rudelich, adding last year the team consisted of 70 participants and almost another 70 has joined the team for this year’s jaunt.
“I think we’re looking at 150 people,” she noted.
Rudelich said when participants join her team, walkers collect donations for her team as a whole or people can pledge Rudelich, which will go towards her own individual total of funds raised.
“People can also walk with me without becoming a part of the team,” she said, adding last year her team raised over $20,000. This will be the second year Rudelich has taken part in the walk.
When not volunteering her time to help raise funds and to raise awareness regarding Crohn’s and Colitis, Rudelich’s hobbies include figure skating, in which she has been a figure skater for the past nine years and she enjoys volleyball and photography. Rudelich also has two younger brothers who are hitting the pavement to help their older sister.
“They’re really excited to do the walk this year,” said Rudelich.
“I’m really hoping that many people will come just to raise awareness just because Crohn’s isn’t well known and it should be.”
According to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, Crohn’s disease is named after the doctor who first described it in 1932. The inflammation from Crohn’s can strike anywhere in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, usually located in the lower part of the small bowel and the upper end of the colon.
Since Crohn’s can be located anywhere in the GI tract, symptoms can vary. On the whole however, they often include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and, not surprisingly, weight loss and lack of energy. Crohn’s disease is a chronic (lifelong) illness. People who have Crohn’s will experience periods of acute flare-ups, when their symptoms are active, and other times when their symptoms go into remission.
Ulcerative colitis is more localized in nature than Crohn’s disease. Typically, the disease affects the colon (large bowel). Colitis can be controlled with medication and in severe cases can even be “cured” by surgical removal of the entire large intestine.