Thanks to a clinical trial, a local man, believes he may finally be able to plan for the future. Schuyler Kreitz fought Crohn's disease for years, and now he wants to help others battling it and colitis.
Doctors diagnosed Schulyer, now 26, with Crohn's disease when he was about twelve. "It was really difficult,"he remembers."It just took up so much of my time, just constantly sick, not being able to do much of anything."
His mother adds, "as a parent, it's really tough to see your child suffer, between the pain and the surgeries." Teddie Kreitz wasn't shocked by the diagnosis, because Schuyler's father had Crohn's disease which is genetic.
Crohn's Disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, fever, loss of apetitite, weight loss, and fatigue.
Schuyler says, "whenever it came on, I just lost all my appetite, was just constantly losing weight, dehydrated, and so really fatigued, I couldn't get up and do anything."
Through the years, doctors prescribed everything from steroids, to cancer drugs, to a biologics, a new class of medicines, developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and Schuyler also underwent four surgeries to remove part of his intestines.
"When we got to the point of finding a procedure or medicine that worked, there ws a little bit of relief every time," his mother says, "but you just never knew with Crohn's when another flare would happen."
When the disease started to threaten Schuyler's life, doctors at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh enrolled him in a clinical trial of a different type of stem cell treatment for Crohn's.
He's finally on the mend. "Now that I haven't been sick I feel like I can finally try to pick up before everything went wrong a couple of years ago," Schuyler says.
High on the agenda, the Take Steps Be Heard for Crohn's and Colitis walk Sunday, September 29 at Legion Park in Hollidaysburg. Registration starts at 3:30 p.m. and the walk takes off at 4:30 p.m.
Money raised goes toward finding a cure and helping patients and their families fight Crohn's disease and colitis.
About one every 200 Americans has Crohn's disease or colitis---it usually affects people bewteen 15 and 35.