Crohn’s Scholarship Funds, Football Players, and Personal Grief
Posted by nepeht on November 21, 2008
It was about 1981 when I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I have had numerous surgeries. I survived an era where I was constantly denied health insurance (and consequently much needed health care and medications) as well as employment due to this disease. I was also not eligible for any sort of disability coverage. This has changed very slightly over time. More than a thousand times, I have counted on change to make things happen. And I mean change in two ways: as coins or funding; and as in someone making a difference. I am grateful to David Garrard for that. No doubt, his donations will make a great difference. One can see the obvious hope and encouragement Mr. Garrard’s commercials have provided for certain people living with Crohn’s Disease.
In 2003, I finally received my Ph.D. in Social Work from a very good university. I owe about $175,000.00 for that education. I still see discrimination by insurance companies, employers, and Government Benefits Policies due to Crohn’s disease.
On one hand, I am very happy to see a football player do so well at his profession while also outing himself about Crohn’s Disease. I am also Thrilled and Grateful to find there is a scholarship to help persons with Crohn’s Disease get educated. Lord knows this is needed as Crohn’s often hinders ones ability to do physical work and to be educated is often a key to learning to work with ones mind instead.
On the other hand, I am deeply saddened because there is a very long ways to go before people with Crohn’s Disease are given the help and compassion that they truly deserve. In my condition, since about 21 years of age, I could not even consider playing football, or any other rough activity. Now after living over half my life this way, I kind of grieve the fact that I could never have qualified for a physically demanding job like football or a career with great benefits like the Armed Forces.
So, it is a celebrated fact that a Football Player with Crohn’s has gone public. But with all due respect and a lot of gratitude, I am still waiting for other shoes to drop. For one, I certainly hope that a whole bunch of prospective football greats with Crohn’s Disease will carefully consult with their doctors before they go out for the team this year.
Above all, I pray that this type of good work continues and that some day a diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease will not mean anything (socially, financially or pathologically) like it did just three decades ago.
And last, but not least, given some of the research findings I have read recently, I hope that people with Crohn’s Disease will consider going on Gluten-Free Diets.