BETHALTO - For people fighting with Crohn’s Disease and other related illnesses, every day is a struggle.

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Fortunately, the wonderful people at the organization Givin’ It All For Guts are determined to provide support, both monetary and emotional, to those who fight the constant battle with the disease.

The organization, founded by Lisa Loftus and her board of directors, held their third annual Givin’ It All For Guts 5K Saturday at the Bethalto City Park. Dozens of registrants lined up on E. Main Street beside the park to show their support. The 3.1-mile race invited both trained runners and eager walkers to participate.

“It’s really grown since our first run in 2013,” Foundation Director Angela Richards said. “Our goal is to raise awareness for the disease and for what everyone who has the disease goes through.”

This year’s race was dedicated to Suzanne Rogers, who passed away from illnesses related to her Crohn’s Disease. Her husband, Mike, was on hand to thank everyone for their participation in the race and thanked the Guts board of directors for dedicating this year’s race on her behalf.

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All of the proceeds of today’s run will go directly to Washington University’s Dr. Matthew Ciorba and his Inflammatory Bowel Diseases research group. With the help of Givin’ It All For The Guts’ $5,000 donation last year, the group was granted over $2 million for their future research for the diseases.

“It’s really spectacular,” Dr. Ciorba said before the race began. “The ability to work in research and really progress to the cutting edge where future treatments are going and how to improve the complications that people live with is a big honor.”

Living with Crohn’s Disease and its related problems is certainly a difficult feat, but those like Susan Hamilton who live with the disease assure that with adequate care, diet and knowledge, you can “live with guts.”

“A lot of people don’t see your disability,” Hamilton said. “They can’t see what’s going on inside of you, yet you’re dealing with all of the issues. The biggest advice I can give to someone who recently got diagnosed with Crohn’s is to not be embarrassed.”


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