Crohn’s Disease Warrior Patrol: A Charity Is Born


This is a repost from http://www.healthline.com/health-news/crohns-warrior-patrol-charity-sponsors-hospital-visits-031313  The article was written by Jaime Weinstein, a fellow online health activist

 

Crohn's Charity

No matter where you turn these days you see commercials and print ads featuring #Hashtags, links to Facebook and Twitter pages, and QR codes for corporate contests. However, social media isn’t just for advertisers; it’s for patients too.

Social networks are a means for patients living with IBD who are located across the globe to reach out to and communicate with one another. It was also the catalyst for Michael A. Weiss to create the Crohn’s Disease Warrior Patrol (CDWP).

A Beautiful Idea

In the late fall of 2012, Weiss, a lawyer, author, and long-time Crohn’s disease survivor, blogged about the need for patient support from others who understand things that only other IBD patients can. A few weeks later, Weiss was contacted via social media about meeting with a young patient named Damon, his mothers, and his older brother.

Ivy Lindsay of Comfort Ostomy Covers by Ivy was originally contacted by one of Damon’s moms to create personalized ostomy covers for Damon, who was having a hard time coping with not one but two stomas (ports in the abdomen that are used to remove waste from the body). One of Weiss’ blog readers and Facebook friends who also happens to be an IBD advocate, Jeffrey LeVine, told Lindsay to speak with Weiss about her young client.

They talked at length about the young patient and his needs, but something was still missing: another IBD patient with an ostomy whom Damon could relate to. In came Marisa Troy. LeVine introduced Troy into the fold, and few phone calls later, arrangements were made for the trio to embark on their mission to meet Damon and raise his spirits.

“Marisa was amazing with Damon and I was impressed with her ability to make him feel at ease while she was also being so candid about her own experiences,” Weiss said of Troy. You can read more about the CDWP’s inaugural visit with Damon here.

This was the kind of interaction Weiss envisioned when he blogged, “Patients helping patients is the best medicine.”

The Birth of a Non-Profit

After meeting with Damon, Weiss embarked on a quest to expand the CDWP. He wanted to create an organization to connect Crohn’s “warriors” and advocates with hospitalized IDB patients to offer them comfort and a friendly, in-person visit.

Several of Weiss’ social media contacts referred him to Alex Fair, CEO of Medstartr.com, a website that utilizes crowd funding for healthcare start-ups. With the help of Fair, a few lawyer friends, Wall Street financiers, and Foundation executives, Weiss crafted a multi-phase business plan for the CDWP and will file for Tax Exempt Status from the IRS as a Charitable Foundation under section 501(c) 3 within the next few weeks.

The CDWP: Not Just for Crohn’s Patients

The CDWP is not just for Crohn’s patients, it’s for all IBD “warriors.” And through the Medstartr initiative, Weiss is hopeful that CDWP will be embraced by IBD medical practices, psychological practitioners, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

If you would like to become an IBD “warrior” helping other patients in your area, you can sign up at: http://crohnsdiseasewarriorpatrol.org/.

 

I was happy to be involved in this meeting with Damon.  I felt like my part wasn’t that big and I was just doing what needed to be done.  My original post about this can be found here https://aguywithcrohns.com/2012/12/31/goodbye-2012-hello-2013/.  

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Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013


 

As we close the door to another year, I look back to see if I have grown this year.  Of course I don’t mean physically, but mentally and spiritually.  Every year I treat New Years Eve like any other day.  I haven’t made a bid deal about it in years.  This year I have changed inside and I now sit here reflecting on the person I have become.

I went into this year in the biggest flare that I have ever had.  I was depressed, in pain and living in the bathroom.  I was alone with my disease and felt like I had no one to turn to.  I now exit this year in remission, running a blog to help others and feel like I am part of the best community out there.  I am part of a group that no matter how they feel, they will still give all they can to help out others.  It is a very unselfish community and one I am proud to be in.

This past weekend I was able to contribute to this unselfish community.  An online friend who runs an ostomy cover company alerted a lot of people about a 9 yr old that was in the hospital.  He had 2 ostomies and was having a hard time with them.  Originally I was just going to donate a little bit to help cover the cost of the covers she was making for him.  When I spoke with this friend she mentioned that he was in a hospital fairly close to me.  I thought she wanted me to bring him the covers but she mentioned that maybe I could visit him.  I don’t have an ostomy so I didn’t know how much of a help I could be but I put out a call online.   2 wonderful people stepped up to the plate.  One, Michael A Weiss, is a seasoned hospital patient and is very big on patient advocacy.  The second, Marisa Troy, is an ostomate and would be able to give any information that she could. 

I was hesitant to go when I heard the kid didn’t necessarily have IBD, but after Michael and Marisa still were going, I knew I had to.  It was the right thing to do.  So Sunday, we all met at the hospital and visited one of the bravest 9 yr olds I have ever met.  It went through so much with blockages, septic shock, seizures, surgery and just the mental anguish that goes with this.  When we got there, he was sitting on a couch with his family.  He was very shy but I could see the life in his eyes.  I knew he was going to get through this ordeal.  I could see the fighter in him.  His mom’s told us his whole story and he has not had an easy life. 

After our 90 minute visit, I knew I did the right thing by going.  It felt so good.  He might not have said much and didn’t interact with us but I think we helped out his mom’s a lot.  I think we eased their minds a little and gave them not only some answers but hope.  They said that he felt so alone and now both him and his mom’s will know that no matter what, he is never alone.  There are tons of us out there willing to help….no matter what.

So I sit here looking back and I see that this year I definitely grew.  My heart and mind are bigger now.  I understand the whole “holiday spirit” thing.  Doing good things unconditionally feels great and makes me want to do more.  I ended 2012 on a great note and I hope to continue going into 2013.  I don’t know what this year will bring but I know that I still have room to grow….and I look forward to it.

 

You only get 2 feel #Humanity when U GIVE of urself.  Visit a kid in a #hospital.  http://bit.ly/UhiWFg   #26Acts