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Connor’s Courageous Crew takes steps to fight Crohn’s

 

Update:

Brief video of the beginning of the after-event party.

 

Original story, published May 8, 2014:

A Palos Heights teen living with Crohn’s disease for the last decade is inviting friends, family, neighbors, classmates and everyone in the community to join him at a charity walk set for this Saturday, May 10 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 7800 W. McCarthy Road, Palos Heights.

Connor Mish, 17, will head Connor’s Courageous Crew, a 100-strong group of supporters who gather to offer support, share fellowship, and raise funds to help scientists across the globe search for a cure to the disease.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Mish. “This is the first year that we’ll be doing this in Palos Heights. In previous years, we had to go out to Naperville [to participate in a larger event].”

The event, held rain or shine, will start with registration at 4 p.m. The walk itself is set to begin at 4:45 p.m. A finish-line celebration is set for 6 p.m., complete with food and entertainment.

Those who want to attend but not walk are welcome to attend and make a donation. Those unable to attend may donate online at online.ccfa.org/phtakesteps.

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), “Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. It is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) are different.”

The event in Palos Heights is one of more than 150 “Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis” events sponsored by CCFA this year across the nation. In the past 6 years, Take Steps events have raised nearly $40 million for research, public and professional education, and patient support services.

Mish said that he anticipates the Palos Heights event raising about $10,000 this year. Connors Courageous Crew started as a very small handful of family and friends years ago and has blossomed to more than 100, with more always welcome.

Mish, described as “outstanding” and “an inspiration” by his mother, Susan, has founded and hosted several Crohn’s-related fundraisers in recent years—everything from a lemonade stand to a friendly and successful competition at Palos East School.

A junior in the band and music ministry at Marist High School, Mish describes himself as “extremely passionate about music” and plays or has played the saxophone, violin, guitar, drums piano, and other instruments.

He founded and plays in Roxie Clementine, an alternative-rock cover band, and plans to major in music business in college.

While Mish is open about discussing his sometimes-debilitating experience with the disease, he often talks in general terms. “When I was first diagnosed [at age 7], I really didn’t know how it would affect my life. It made me stronger, that’s for sure,” he told The Regional News last Monday. “I do know I’m fortunate to have so much support from my mom and the rest of my family, friends and so many others.”

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Submitted photo

Connor Mish (right), with his mother, Susan, and older brother, Kevin. He is organizing a walk and finish-line celebration to fight Crohn’s disease and colitis this Saturday afternoon at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Palos Heights.

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Submitted photo

Connor’s Courageous Crew members celebrate success at the 2013 event.

 

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