Family. That’s what Get Your Guts in Gear means to me.
When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease back in 1999 I had a wonderfully supportive group of family and friends helping me every step of the way. When my dad decided to find an event supporting Crohn’s his search engine landed on Get Your Guts in Gear. He and I signed up to ride together with no idea what to expect.
While Crohn’s symptoms kept me from riding for a couple of years, I joined the crew and was hooked from the first day. We had found a supportive community, not just with people who understood what I was going through, but people who understood what my family was going through as well. Being the family and friends of someone with a chronic disease has it’s own challenges that are often overlooked, and having people who understood those challenges was a great help to my family.
And speaking of support systems…having a support system is so important when dealing with IBD, and I have a great one. Family and friends who are willing to take on the challenges of biking long distances, raising lots of money, and sleeping in a tent (which they all ended up loving, despite apprehension). People who are there for me no matter what I need, whether it’s a ride to a doctor’s appointment or just a shoulder to lean on.
Through GYGIG this support system has only gotten bigger. I have made countless friends who I know I could call in the middle of the night if I needed to. Like the slogan says, GYGIG is more than a ride. It’s more than a fundraiser. It’s more than a chance to spend a weekend together with new and old friends. It’s more than a support group. It’s more than a sleep away camp. It’s more than a physical challenge. It’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s a family!