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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.

Meet our central ohio honored heroes


It has been nearly 30 years since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a preteen. My diagnosis inspired me to want to be a pediatric inflammatory bowel disease specialist, and now I am proud to say that I am both an IBD provider and an IBD patient. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus Ohio I’m the director of the very early onset inflammatory bowel disease program. When I discuss treatment options with my patients and their parents, I try and think about what I would do if this were me. Having the perspective of being a patient allows me to relate to my patients and be even more understanding and empathetic as I treat them. 

My advocacy passion to improve access to care and impact the cost of care continues to keep me actively involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee’s Government & Industry Affairs Committee. I became a leader and advisor on health care policy related to step therapy reform and biosimilars. I have organized and attended the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation annual Washington D.C. Day on the Hill, where we continue to advocate for the IBD community. My advocacy interest to impact cost of care evolved into my clinical research and educational focus too.



Hi, my name is Oscar Lorenz. I am currently a junior in high school. I have lived with Crohn's disease since I was 10 years old. Like many of you with IBD, I really had no idea what was wrong with me until the disease was pretty advanced. My family and I had taken a long-awaited trip to Disney World. When I got off the plane, I had the worst case of hiccups in my life. Over the vacation, my hiccups got worse and I lost the ability to swallow. My stomach hurt, and my mouth was full of canker sores. It was not a good trip. When we got home, we went straight to the doctor, who immediately suspected Crohn’s disease. That's when the real work began. I tried several treatments, but didn’t reach remission for almost two years. It was a lonely and scary time for me, and I felt very overwhelmed. 

One of the best ways to fight IBD is to get involved — it helps you as a person but also connects you to the wider community. My parents reached out to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and found Camp Oasis. After I had been in treatment for a year, I was medically cleared to go. My parents and my brothers dropped me off at the bus for camp, and I started the four-hour trek north. I was nervous, but the counselors on the bus were reassuring — they said it would be one of the best weeks of my life, and it was! I learned to talk about my disease with my peers, things I had never done even before IBD. I’ve participated in person or virtually every year since. I met my best friend in the world at Camp Oasis. Even though he’s in Michigan, we visit each other all the time and talk every day.

Five years after my diagnosis, my younger brother, Emmett, was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I’m using the tools I’ve learned at Camp Oasis to help support him, knowing how difficult it was for me. I’m going to camp next summer as a Leader in Training because I want to show others how having a good support system and meeting other kids with IBD can really change your life for the better.

Sometimes I think about what life was like before Crohn’s disease. It was definitely easier, but I've learned a lot about myself over the last six and half years. I think that I've been able to find the bright spots when things get difficult, and I hope to pass that message along to all the kids with IBD who come after me.



Lydia was a force. Everyone who knew her admired her relatability, her drive, her heart.

She never met a stranger. To the point it was embarrassing to go anywhere with her because she’d leave with a phone number and a person to help. But helping people was who she was. She helped countless students with disabilities find their way to success and countless professionals arm themselves with what they needed to help even more people. Her reach was wide and her heart was big.

She had a laugh that you could hear from anywhere and a smile that was contagious. She could talk for hours, and we did. Even if we had just seen each other, she’d call shortly after just to hear more about our day. And then she’d call again after dinner to see what we had and if anything had changed in the last 2 hours.

Lydia showed up for everyone, no matter how well she knew you. She always put others first. And all the while, she was battling an invisible, crippling disease. But you’d never know it. She did everything she wanted to do, traveled everywhere she wanted to travel, had a family, and a fulfilling career. Even in her last days, she refused to let us cancel her airline reservation because she was sure she would feel up to going.

Lydia was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the 1960’s at a time when a diagnosis was hard to come by and treatment options were sparse. She had multiple surgeries, tried many different medications and infusions, but after spending so many years without the proper treatment, she passed away from complications on June 22, 2011. 

Within days of Lydia’s funeral, we got connected with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. We immediately found community, comfort, and a purpose. We have stayed committed to using our grief for good and advocating for others - just like our mom spent her life doing. 

So, we do our best to live our lives like Lydia. Say yes to the trip. Say yes to the party. Try the hard thing. Make plans as if nothing will stop you from following through…just like Lydia

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