Aria Simone Love is in a lot of ways your typical seven year old. She loves to play with her friends, she loves to color, and she loves to match outfits with her American Girl doll. Unfortunately, unlike many seven year olds, Aria has ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are bowel afflictions that affect nearly one in 200 people in the United States. The diseases involve an inflammation of the lower intestine and symptoms include frequent trips to the bathroom (sometimes over 20 times a day), stomach and gut pain, and diarrhea.The diseases affect people of all shapes and sizes and do not pay attention to age, sex, or race – though it is common for people to be diagnosed when they are young adults.
Since Aria was diagnosed in August of 2011, she has been on Prednisone, Fluticasone, Sulfasalazine, Remicade, Mesalamine enemas, Hydrocortisone enemas, Asacol, and Humira shots. She also had 3 blood transfusions this past summer. When asked what it means to have ulcerative colitis, Aria says it means that she can’t eat certain foods that she likes because her colon doesn’t like them. It also means that she always has to go to the bathroom.
Aria is the 2013 Honored Hero for this year’s Twin Cities Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis. Take Steps is an annual day of food, fun, and music – with all money raised going to help find a cure and raise awareness for these diseases. This year’s walk is June 9th on Harriet Island from 4pm-6pm. More information can be found here: cctakesteps.org/twincities.
While many suffer in silence, the walk encourages participants to “Take Steps and Be Heard!” – and Aria agrees, saying it is important to walk “because then other kids and grown-ups who have Crohn’s or UC can get support from their school, family, and friends” just like she has.