“I spent four years of my life, from the age of 12 to 16, in hospital after being diagnosed with colitis. I was put on multiple medications and went through many surgeries to try to deal with this disease. Throughout it all, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada was there, helping me understand the disease, and that it often hits young people.”
— Tess Frémont-Côté
Youth don’t expect to call a hospital home, but this was Tess Frémont-Côté’s home for the better part of her high school years.
From the age of 12, when she was diagnosed with colitis, until the age of 16 — and after surgery upon surgery — she tried to come to terms with a disease that had rocked her world. “I had just started secondary school and was very scared when I found out I had colitis. I didn’t know what it was, and my family was really upset because nobody in our family had a history of medical problems up to that point,” she says.
In addition to the operations, Tess had to take a lot of medication to try to get her disease under control.
Young — and embarrassed —she found it hard to talk about her disease with her friends.
Thank goodness for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, one of 16 national health charities working under the HealthPartners umbrella to transform the health of Canadians. There for Tess every step of the way while she underwent multiple surgeries, the Foundation helped her understand what was happening to her and how to talk about it with her friends and members of her family. She also learned that colitis affects many young people, even younger than her. “It was quite a shock to learn that 5- and 6-year-olds get this disease,” she says.
Thanks to support from the Foundation, Tess felt less isolated and alone. “I am living proof that donating to HealthPartners works.”
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are chronic digestive disorders of the small and large intestines. They are also referred to as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD. More than 200,000 Canadians of all ages suffer from these disorders.
HealthPartners proudly supports Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.