The “Got Guts? 5K” will begin and end on the campus of TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital on Sunday, May 15th.

TAMC

(Above: Courtney Lovely, her daughter Jayden, and Adam Murchison ran together in the Spring Run Off on April 9th; one of many races they have participated in side-by-side. The “Got Guts? 5K” for Crohn’s and Colitis research is set for Sunday, May 15th on the campus of TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital).

In the United States, one in two hundred people are diagnosed with some form of inflammatory bowel disease; that’s a staggering statistic. One TAMC employee, with help from a nursing student, has organized the 5K run/walk to raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research.

It’s what some might call an invisible illness because those who are dealing with it may not look sick at all. Crohn’s and Colitis are two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an auto-immune condition where the body attacks its own digestive system. Crohn’s Disease is associated with inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Colitis is when the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed.

Both disorders come with similar symptoms; constant abdominal pain or discomfort, fatigue, reduced appetite, bleeding, and more. When Courtney Lovely, manager of Quality Management Services at TAMC, began feeling ill in 2013 it took a while to get to the diagnosis.

I was very healthy and I had never had any issues,” said Lovely. “I thought I had the stomach flu. I had dropped a lot of weight in a short amount of time and was feeling fatigued. I had a hard time eating and noticed some bleeding as well.”

Lovely eventually saw her provider but there was no specialist in the area at the time. She was sent to Eastern Maine Medical Center where she had a colonoscopy and was diagnosed with severe Ulcerative Colitis with Crohn’s characteristics; her entire colon is affected.

Lovely said, “It’s definitely a condition that needs to be talked about more. I went online to do some research and found the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. There I found out about Team Challenge. Through Team Challenge, you can run or walk a half marathon (13.1 miles), train for a cycling event, or experience a sprint triathlon while simultaneously helping to find a cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two chronic and often debilitating digestive diseases that impact over 1.6 million Americans. Team Challenge participates in a very popular half-marathon every year in Napa Valley, California and Adam Murchison and I decided to compete.”

Murchison, a nursing student who will be working in TAMC’s operating room after completing his education, has been active in local competitions for years and he and Lovely often compete together. They both became part of Team Challenge New England, based in Boston. They will pay their own way to California, but in order to participate in the Napa to Sonoma half marathon on July 17th, both Lovely and Murchison must raise a certain amount of money for research.

“We thought of doing our own race locally to both raise awareness for this disease and to raise money for research,” said Lovely. “All the funds raised go to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America for research, resources for patient education, and even to sponsor kids at Camp Oasis, a fun place for kids who suffer with this condition.

Jamie Guerrette, community health specialist at TAMC, said the hospital is willing to get behind an event for the right reasons, but this one is a little different.

At TAMC we have four key community health areas that we are targeting within the community, and when an event helps to promote a healthy lifestyle, particularly in one of these areas, we are happy to help if we can,” said Guerrette. “This one is especially close to home, since we like to support our employees, and we know of Courtney’s battle.  We are excited to be on board with the project.”

The four areas in which TAMC is concentrating community health efforts, according to Guerrette, are: decreasing youth obesity through family engagement; decreasing the number of adults with cardiovascular risk factors; improving the health status of seniors with three or more chronic conditions; and advocating for improved access to behavioral health services.

The “Got Guts? 5K” will begin and end on the campus of TAMC’s A.R.Gould Memorial Hospital on Sunday, May 15th. Pre-registration is $15 and can be done via the event page on Facebook; while registration on the day of the event is $20 and will begin at 8:30 a.m. Walkers will begin at 10:00 a.m. while runners start fifteen minutes later. This 5K is partly a trail run so participants are encouraged to leave the strollers at home. There is also a virtual option for those not able to run on the 15th but would still like to support the event. Medals and bibs will be mailed to virtual participants on May 16th.

Additionally, there will be a free kid’s 1 mile fun run at 9:30 a.m.

 To keep track of Courtney and Adam’s progress for Team Challenge New England you can visit the links below.

For Courtney Lovely:

http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/TeamChallenge/Chapter-NewEngland?px=3348140&pg=personal&fr_id=6281

For Adam Murchison:

http://online.ccfa.org/site/TR/TeamChallenge/Chapter-NewEngland?px=3348161&pg=personal&fr_id=6281