Alesha Griffith is much like any other 28-year-old. A mother of two children and Warsaw native, Griffith enjoys reading, urban agriculture, up-cycling and doing crafts with her children. However, unlike many other women her age, Griffith struggles with an auto-immune disease for which there is no cure.
Crohn’s Disease, which is named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn who first described the disease in 1932, belongs to a group of conditions that are known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. According to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, the disease commonly affects young adults between the ages of 15 and 35 with as many as 700,000 Americans reported to have the disease.
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 15. Crohn’s Disease is an auto immune disease that affects your digestive system, nutrition intake, inflammation markers throughout your whole body and many other things,” states Griffith on her GoFundMe.com page.
According to Griffith, symptoms span from diarrhea, extreme fatigue, join pain, anemia, vitamin deficiencies to skin rashes, higher risks of colon cancer and a weakened immune system. Though the disease was manageable at first for Griffith, in November 2014 she states the disease became debilitating, causing her to spend 10 days in the hospital.
“Since then my doctors and I have been battling to control the disease,” explains Griffith. “I have been to The Cleveland Clinic for supportive medical advice along with (visiting) doctors in Indianapolis and my current doctors at Parkview Hospital. My gastroenterologist has tried several different treatments and my body is continuing to not respond to treatment at the pace that we would all like.
With few options left, Griffith will soon undergo bowel resection surgery. The surgery, which is scheduled for July 9, will allow Griffith’s body a fresh start and ability to utilize medications for better control of the disease.
The surgery was originally scheduled in April but a few days beforehand it was cancelled. “The surgeon fears my body isn’t capable of healing itself right now… I will be in the hospital for approximately five to seven days and will be off of work for eight to 12 weeks afterwards.”
In addition to surgery cost and a loss of revenue due to time off, Griffith is also facing the cost of expensive medications such as Remicade. Due to rising medical costs and an inability to work, Griffith and her family are struggling with living expenses, medical copays and prescription costs.
“I am asking for assistance because I feel it’s one of few choices I have at this time. I am hoping for a great recovery from surgery so that I can have a happier and healthier life. I want to be able to spend more quality time with my family and friends. I want to be able to return to work as a Mental Health Technician at Parkview Behavioral Health in Fort Wayne.
Though Griffith is reluctant to ask for help, she is currently reaching out to others for the help she so often gave herself.
“I have always lived my life by the quote ‘Be the change you wish to see in this world.’ I have always struggled to ask for help from others but am always willing to help those around me. Due to these circumstances, I now have to allow those around me to help instead,” states Griffith.
To donate to Griffith’s medical costs, visit her GoFundMe page here.