This story spans a 30 year period in my life, living with the complications and shame of the chronic illness, Crohn's Disease. I will convey to you the challenges of fulfilling my dreams while at the same time hiding the true facts of my illness to family and friends. The story begins in 1975, when at the age of 20, I leave my home in Saginaw, MI to venture out to New York with a dream of becoming a model. However, shortly after my move, I am diagnosed with this incurable disease. Determined not to let this disorder defer my dreams, I set out to reach my goals through self-education, many job changes and pure faith. Throughout my journey, not only am I plagued with the daily challenges of this disorder but due to the lengthy times spent out on sick leave, holding on to employment becomes a struggle. However, through determination, I am able to overcome the challenges and become a successful sales person for one of the largest mutual fund companies in the U.S. As a Crohn's sufferer, my challenge today is to bring awareness to the public of this disease. Because this disease is not considered as chronic under the social security disabilility and insurance companies' guidelines, many severe sufferers, such as myself, have to encounter many economic hardships while dealing with the physical and emotional aspects of this illness.
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