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West Jordan Journal

Taking Steps To Help Fight Digestive Disease

May 15, 2015 07:50PM ● By Crystal Couch

Austin Ashby and his family want to get the word out about Crohn’s disease at the June 6 event “Take Steps Walk.” Photo courtesy of Shawn Ashby

West Jordan - Eleven-year-old Austin Ashby from West Jordan is one out of 700,000 estimated Americans living with Crohn’s disease; he was first diagnosed at the age of 9. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. 

 Austin and his family are speaking out about his disease to encourage local residents to attend the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s “Take Steps Walk” on Saturday, June 6, from 3 - 6 p.m. at Wheeler Historic Farm, where Austin is being celebrated as the honorary hero.  “They are planning a one-mile walk,” said Shawn Ashby, Austin’s father. “There will be a registration tent where people can come and register the day of or donate, if they would like to. There will be a lot of kids’ activities, face painters, photo booth, live music and Austin will start the walk out since he is the honorary hero.”

This hero is only in the fifth grade, but his father describes him as very brave. “He gets a weekly infusion of  Remicade at Primary Children’s Hospital. They insert an IV and he does not like needles,” he said. “We found this great numbing cream we put on him about a half hour before his infusion, and then we sit there for four hours, watch videos and eat food. He has been really courageous.”  With the help of Remicade, Austin is back to doing some of his favorite things: playing on his Kindle, enjoying sports and reading books like other children his age. One of the biggest changes since being diagnosed with this disease has been Austin’s diet. “This has affected our family as a whole. The things he can’t eat the rest of us can, so we try not to eat those things around him,” said Austin’s father. 

This is the Ashby’s second year doing the walk, but the first with Austin being the honorary hero. They really believe in the organization that puts this on yearly. “CCFA puts in a lot of money towards research,” said Shawn. “The technology that’s coming along is a little bit slow, but we are really, really hopeful that someday they will find a cure for it. They have made some great strides and narrowed down on some of the chromosomes and genes that cause Crohn’s and Colitis.”