EYE ON HEALTH: Local effort to help young people with painful condition
Erin Smith says "It started when he was about six months old, he just stopped gaining weight."
Smith says she and her husband went on a whirlwind of doctors visits and tests for young Kenny over the next few months trying to figure out what was wrong.
"About a year later he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease," says Smith.
Crohn's disease is a condition that causes inflammation, or swelling, and irritation of any part of the digestive tract, in most cases, the small intestine.
The most common symptoms of Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea. Patients may also experience weight loss and fever.
While you will definitely find Kenny running and playing now, Erin remembers a much different scene where she said her little boy just seemed to be fading away.
Erin Smith says "He had a complete lack of energy, no appetite, spent hours in the bathroom, he had a temperature of 103 degrees for weeks."
So doctors recommended surgery.
Erin Smith says "Since the surgery he's been in remission, so at this point he's actually Crohn's free."
Greg Smith says "We live in the fear everyday that it's going to come back and hard to talk about it, emotional for me."
That's why Greg is leading the charge for this year's Crohn's and Colitis walk not only for his son, but also for people like UTC student Jerica Davis.
Jerica Davis says "First of all, I was really scared anything that's called a disease I was like what does that mean, I didn't know anything about it."
Nurse practitioner Rebekah Corey says while Kenny's case was unusual to be diagnosed so early, this is a condition that mainly strikes young people between the ages of 15 and 30.
Rebekah Corey, Nurse Practitioner says "It is a disease of young people. We see the biggest spike in high school and college age kids."
That's why Jerica and Kenny's family will be out hoping to not only raise money for research to find a cure, but also to raise awareness about the disease.
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