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Fundraiser for Crohn's and Colitis Foundation to help people like local 15-year-old who had her colon removed

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 07, 2023

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Dancing has been part of 15-year-old Madi Andresen's life since she learned how to walk.

"I’ve been dancing competitively since the age of 5. I’ve been dancing since I was 3," she said.

The competitive dancing kept her on a busy schedule, so when she started feeling really tired and drained a couple of years ago, she brushed it off.

"I felt almost like I didn’t have time for those symptoms because I was way too busy."

Her mom, Angie Andresen, knew something was off with her daughter. She said Madi's symptoms got so bad at one point, she had to rush her to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"That was our first 8-day stay at the hospital where she was diagnosed," said Angie.

Madi was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive track, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"My symptoms were rather unpleasant. I was losing a lot of blood, I was really tired, I was fatigued. I didn’t have much energy."

The major turning point in Madi's journey with colitis came in December of 2021 when she was admitted to Johns Hopkins for a month.

"It was such a long stay, it was really really awful. It ended in me having to get my colon removed because of all the inflammation," she said. "It was going to kill me, eventually."

"It was one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make, was to have her colon removed," said Angie.

Madi has to wear an ostomy bag and is very diligent about her water and nutrient intake, since the colon is where most of that is absorbed. One of the organizations that she and her family turned to throughout all of this is the DC/Maryland/Virginia chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

"One of the resources that the foundation provides help with getting a 504, which allows her to have accommodations in school, allows her to have help when she misses class," said Angie.

"They also have information on the medications that are available today as well as support programs."

Madi is learning to live her new normal and is back to dancing with the Mt. Hebron High School Lancers. She acknowledges the struggles that come with colitis while also trying to find the positive.

"I have to remind myself that there are people who can’t advocate for themselves so I want to advocate for those who can’t just so I can show them that its going to be okay."

The DC/MD/VA chapter is hosting a fundraiser on September 22 called Charm City Craft. There will be food, craft cocktails and live music. It's happening at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park starting at 6 p.m. For more information, including how to buy tickets, click here.