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Support group helps kids with Crohn's and Colitis | News

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Support group helps kids with Crohn's and Colitis

MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV)- Experts say 14,000 Arkansans deal with the digestive disorders like Crohn's disease and Colitis. Arkansas Children's Hospital diagnoses a child a week with these chronic diseases.

Kristin Trulock is Arkansas' community development manager for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Trulock explained that the diseases are hereditary and are never fully cured. With no specific triggers for the auto immune disease it can be hard to diagnose.

Saturday was the first Family Fun Day for children and families who suffer from the digestive disorder. Trulock organized it as a way to create a safe space for families and for children to have support without needing to call it a "support group."

Ashley Graham, 12, spent two years in hospital beds not understanding what was going on in her body. "It was awful and embarrassing" said Graham. "I was so young. It was like how can I tell someone, like what do I say?" Her mother, Laura Graham said the hardest part of the process was not knowing what her daughter had. "You see your daughter every night getting worse and worse, the medicine is not helping," said Laura. "Nothing is working… and so aggressively, I just said we are going to Children's."

Four therapy dogs comforted more than a dozen children at the first Family Fun Day. Trulock says she helped make the group, so that families don't have to go through the process alone. Her son began having symptoms at three weeks old, he is now 12 and is denying the fact he has the disease. "He has to take his medicines to stay healthy, he has to do what's right, but try telling a teenager that. It's tough, it's real tough."

Trulock encourages anyone who has questions to reach out. A walk is coming up on May 30 at the Clinton Library lawn.

For more information you can call Kristin Trulock at (501) 590-8948 or visit the website www.ccfa.org.