Niagara Gazette — The Niagara-Wheatfield junior varsity girls basketball team has a bone to pick with Crohn's disease.
The chronic affliction, which causes weakening of the digestive tract, affects not one but two members of this year's team's extended family. Coach Kevin Schucker felt it was important to do whatever he could to fight back, changing his annual charity fundraiser game, scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday against Lewiston-Porter at Niagara-Wheatfield High School's gymnasium, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Lewiston, to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
"Each year we pick a home game on the schedule and the kids get to wear special jerseys," he said. "We take a picture with the girls with a giant check, we have a 50/50 raffle, we give away some special prizes during the game."
On a list of diseases, Crohn's and Colitis are probably two of the least sexy afflictions the human race can endure. It's not easy to talk about digestive issues with close relatives, let alone random strangers.
But their destructive power can also be among the most painful and dangerous. Just ask Lisa Britton and Sherry Devantier how much of an affect the diseases can have on the sufferer's life.
Britton, Schucker's girlfriend, was vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C. last April when she was hit by what she thought was a Crohn's attack. A sufferer for her entire adult life, she was familiar with the flare-ups and shouldered the pain, believing it would go away.
When it didn't, and actually got much worse, the two of them became concerned. They called off their vacation and drove home to Western New York as quickly as possible. It turned out, Britton was extremely lucky.
"I always had my Crohn's attacks and as a woman, you just get used to the pain," she said. "But when it happened, I couldn't feel my legs. They were shutting down. My kidneys started shutting down. I went septic. I had emergency surgery and they took out most of my colon and about three feet of my intestine."