Ten years ago, David and Gwen Baker’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. The incurable illness — and related inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis — cause abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. They may also attack the joints, skin, bones, kidneys, liver and eyes.
Needless to say, IBD affects not only the 5 million people worldwide who suffer from it, but their entire families.
Baker knew what was ahead for his child. His family has a history of Crohn’s. Unfortunately, 2 years later one of their other girls faced the same agonizing diagnosis.
The Bakers are not alone. But David banded together with Westport friends whose children also have Crohn’s. They’re fighting the battle with fitness.
Last year group member Peter Bassler rode his bike for 24 hours straight — and raised over $24,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
This year, the 4 friends — including David Kaplan and David Popkin — will all ride for 12 hours. They’ve set individual goals of $12,000 each — nearly $50,000 total. They call the event “12 Hours 4 12K.”
The quartet knows they’re not superheroes. So they’re asking others to help out. You can take an hour on the bike to relieve them — or clip in your own bike and cycle alongside (adding your own fundraising to theirs).
It happens on Saturday, May 20 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Total Training and Endurance, across from New Country Toyota). There will be plenty of activities all day (and food!).
The date is significant: May 19 is World IBD Day.
“It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to see your child in pain,” Popkin says. “It’s unbearable to have your child subjected to intense medications that might work for only a short time, or have them tethered to IVs for infusions that come with potentially dire side effects.”
He noted that all 4 of the riders’ children have missed school, endured numerous ER visits and hospital stays. Some have had multiple surgeries and invasive tests.
“Battling Crohn’s disease, like my son Carter has for more than 8 years, requires strength, resilience and determination,” Bassler says.
He, the 2 other Davids and Baker are also strong, resilient and determined to help find a cure. They hope many Westport friends — and strangers — will join them.
(To donate, click here. To relieve or ride along with the 4 bikers, email email@example.com)
Click below for an inspiring video — featuring a young Carter Bassler. He’s now a Staples High School soccer player.