During her more than 20 years living with Crohn’s disease, Stacey Gitlin has experienced countless, painful flare-ups, been prescribed numerous medications, and undergone surgeries.
“It’s been a constant struggle and desire to maintain a "normal" life,” says Stacey. “There is not a day that goes by where Crohn’s does not enter my mind. It affects my food choices, energy levels, even my travel destinations.”
When Stacey’s bowel perforated in 1999, Dr. Helen MacRae performed emergency surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital, part of Sinai Health. Stacey is now under the care of Mount Sinai’s Dr. Mark Silverberg.
After recovering from surgery, Stacey was able to return to teaching and get back to her life. She got married and has three beautiful children. Stacey and her husband Jonathan are incredibly grateful for the care she received at Mount Sinai.
“I’m so grateful to have had such an incredible team looking after me,” says Stacey. “But there’s still so much to be learned about how to treat and even prevent Crohn’s disease. That’s why we decided to fundraise to support research.”
In April 2019, Stacey and Jonathan launched Spin for Sinai to support research and improve care. The indoor spin event raised an incredible $150,000 in its first year alone.
When spring rolled around in 2020, fundraising for the second event was well underway. But so was the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were almost sold out of spin sessions when the pandemic hit,” says Stacey. But the indoor gym-based event clearly could not proceed according to the original plan. After a lot of thought about how best to keep participants safe, the Gitlins decided to push the event’s date to April 2021.
“We may do a virtual event, or an outdoor ride,” says Stacey.
“But even though the event itself is postponed, the fundraising is already having incredible impact,” adds Stacey’s husband Jonathan.
Spin for Sinai’s incredible supporters raised more than $260,000 which support the positions of three clinical research fellows at Sinai Health’s Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases (ZCC). Fellows care for patients, which supports the ZCC’s ability to manage 10,000 patient visits each year. They also carry out original research, helping to discover the treatments of the future.
Because of our supporters, these fellows are hard at work right now, in the face of COVID-19, to come up with new and better ways to treat and even prevent Crohn’s disease and IBD,” says Jonathan.
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