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Happy Birthday, #GetYourBellyOut!

It was a year ago today that I discovered the #GetYourBellyOut campaign. It started off with one girl, named Sahara who was raising money for IBD. Wanting to participate and be a part of something in the name of IBD awareness, I decided to get my belly out, too!

It was about that time that I met @colitisandme. A sweet, passionate girl who works hard in the name of IBD advocacy. Though she lived across the ocean, the two of us shared a unique bond: Ulcerative Colitis. 

Many people might see this as something to be pitied... what a horrid way to be "connected." A disease is what brought you together? Really?! But if you ask me, it's something to be celebrated. #GetYourBellyOut did more for me, I think, than I realized in the beginning. It introduced me to people like me! People who understood my disease inside and out. 

Three weeks after I posted that photo, I was in the hospital having my colon removed. It was not an easy thing to accept... however, seeing all the many people who had gone into surgery before me gave me comfort. I knew that I was not alone. I knew that I would have support. I knew that they, like me, were afraid, fighting for their lives day in and day out and looking for answers to their many questions as they lived with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Since then, I have made many friends who share not only my disease, but passion for raising awareness. I feel like these people have become some of my best friends. I am so blessed and thankful to have them in my life. I look forward to another year of awareness and advocacy. Thank you, Sahara, Victoria, Lorna, Gem, Lisa and so many others who have made a difference in my life. I love you all so much!

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