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Honored Heroes share their stories to let other patients know they are not alone on their journeys — because no one should face the challenges and uncertainty of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in isolation. Through their stories, Honorees raise awareness of these diseases, raise funds to support the Foundation’s mission and inspire hope in those living with IBD. To nominate a Take Steps Honoree, please complete this form.


Hello, my name is Michael Collins and I’m grateful to be selected as the 2024 Adult Honored Hero for the Take Steps Walk here in Albany, NY. This area has always been home being born and raised in the Capital District. My IBD journey began during my high school years where things weren’t quite right with my digestive system. With the typical testing for digestive diseases, it was determined that Crohn’s Disease was present which was my diagnosis before I was out of high school. Having dealt with the disease for a few years, my quality of life had diminished with many flare-ups which resulted in numerous obstructions. This led to my first bowel surgery for some relief. This improved my quality of life; however, I was aware that it was not a cure. My second bowel surgery followed 10 years later. Today, I am 12 years beyond my last surgery and still fighting the disease. Trying to stay out of the operating room once again.

My introduction to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and the Upstate Northeastern NY Chapter came about ten years ago while at work. Our office administrator came to my office to notify me that two individuals were in our lobby inquiring about Chapter participation. It was that day that I met Linda Winston and Ellen Sax who educated me about the Chapter and mission of the Foundation. At that point there was no reason that could prevent me from supporting the mission or from being an advocate for a cure. From that day forward myself, my family, my employer, Turner Construction Co., and I have supported the foundation’s annual walk each year since. A thank you to Turner for their continued support of my journey through the years and for their generous contributions to the Foundation.

This disease impacts more of our family and friends each year. We ask that you continue to support the Take Steps Walk and the Foundation with hopes of cure if not for us then for the generations to come.

Let the support we can offer be our legacy.


Emilie mILLER  - Pediatric HONORED HERO

Hi, my name is Emilie and I am 8 years old. My favorite subject is art, my favorite color is yellow, I do karate and I like to travel.

My colitis story started when I was 2 years old. I don’t remember a life without having a disease. I have many memories of feeling scared being in the hospital, getting medical treatment and going to many appointments.

My parents tell me that I was extremely sick in and out of the hospital for a year until the doctors found a medication that worked. I am grateful for all the hard work the medical professionals put into making me stay healthy.

It is hard for me to stay healthy. I miss out on a lot of fun things planned at school or with my friends due to being sick, having a flare, and going to appointments. Many kids I go to school with do not understand why I have extra doctor appointments or why I can’t eat some of the same foods they do. My family, friends and I make the best out of every situation, such as the time they threw me my own father-daughter dance after missing out on the schools’ dance due to being admitted to the hospital.

Sometimes this disease can make you feel lonely, but every year Take Steps helps me feel connected to others who feel the way I feel.

I am grateful for my family, friends, medical professionals, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. I hope that one day a cure can be found so I can experience life without this disease. I am honored to be this year’s Take Steps Honored Hero and I hope sharing my story helps others feel connected.



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