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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.

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2024 Take Steps Youth Honored Hero- Nicolas Gladysz

In January 2023, everything changed. I was only 12, just a regular kid with big dreams, until I got really sick. It all started with me losing weight for no reason, feeling tired all the time, and getting awful cramps that hurt so bad, I couldn't even stand up. Then I got a fever that stuck around for weeks, like an annoying guest. Before I knew it, I was stuck in the hospital for a whole week. There were tests, needles, and doctors everywhere, trying to figure out why I was so sick. They found out my tummy was all messed up with inflammation and sores, so I couldn't eat anything. All I had were tubes, IVs and shots to help me. But I was lucky. I had some awesome doctors who never gave up on me. They gave me treatments and medicines to help me feel better. I got so many shots in 2023 I lost count, and I still get them every 2 weeks. I had to go to the hospital and doctor's office a bunch of times, and I still do. It meant I missed many days in school, too. Knowing there's no cure makes me sad, but I believe they'll find one someday. I hope it's soon. I had to stop eating gluten and dairy, which meant saying bye to all my favorite foods. It was hard at first, but I got used to it after a while. My parents were there for me the whole time, cheering me up and telling me I could do it. Even though 2023 was really tough, I didn't let it beat me. I kept working hard in school, getting all A grades, and taking tough advanced Cambridge classes. Even when I was feeling sick, there were days when I felt okay, and I still got to go to new places and see the world. My mom loves taking me on adventures to new places.
My advice to all pediatric patients is: don't give up! Keep pushing forward.  I am honored to be chosen as the 2024 Pediatric Honored Hero for this year's event. I dream of a day when living a normal life doesn't mean relying on harsh medicines and enduring days of pain. That's why I'm walking alongside Team "Braver than Most - Tampa Bay Take Steps" in April, 2024. Your support isn't just about finding a cure for Crohn's and Colitis; it's about giving people the chance to experience life without the burden of constant illness. With your help, we can make strides toward a future where treatments are gentler, and the days of pain and uncertainty are behind us. Thank you for joining us on this journey toward a brighter, healthier tomorrow. - Nicolas Gladysz  

To support Nicolas, please visit: Nicolas Gladysz - Fundraising For Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (


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