Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
Natalie Hayden, IBD Patient Advocate and Blogger, shares more about her life after being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
Here’s more from Natalie Hayden:
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in July 2005 at 21 years old. I had just graduated from Marquette University with a Journalism degree. I had aspirations of working in TV news, but then I was blindsided with this diagnosis. Even though I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in July…I managed to land my first TV job in October 2005 at KAAL-TV. From there I went on to work at WAOW-TV in Wausau WI as a morning news anchor/reporter for Wake Up Wisconsin. I left news for a brief period (August 2010-December 2011) and moved to Chicago to do PR. I missed TV, so got back in…that’s when I worked at WICS-TV as a morning news anchor for Sunrise This Morning. I left the newsdesk in November 2014 and it was at that point, I decided I didn’t want to suffer in silence anymore. I wanted to share my story and empower others. The first 10 years of having inflammatory bowel disease, I kept it very private…but once I left the public eye I knew I could make a difference and be the voice I desperately needed to hear that first decade of my patient journey.
I launched my blog “Lights, Camera, Crohn’s in July 2016. Since then I have shared fresh content every single Monday. Lights, Camera, Crohn’s covers everything from overcoming struggles to celebrating small victories throughout all parts of the patient journey from diagnosis and beyond. I enjoy sharing stories about pregnancy and motherhood in hopes of comforting and providing hope to others.
Along with my blog, I am a part of the Patient Advisory Board for IBD Social Circle (#IBDSC), a Patient Ambassador for Gali Health, a Patient Leader for WEGO Health, and a contributor to Everyday Health, Healthy Women, the IBD Healthline app, Mamas Facing Forward, and IBD Moms. I am also an active volunteer and spokesperson for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, specifically the Mid-America Chapter. (I am emceeing the live Zoom on 6/21 for Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas) to kick off the Take Steps Walk.
July 23rd is 15 years since my diagnosis–I have unique patient perspective after overcoming many flare ups, hospitalizations, a bowel resection surgery that involved the removal of 18 inches of my intestine, along with being on a biologic medication that requires an injection every other week. As an IBD mom I share what it was like planning for a family with chronic illness, what it was like being pregnant, and how it is to be a mom to two little ones while taking on a tough disease.
I feel my skills from journalism–being a writer, being on camera, etc. have helped me a great deal with my advocacy efforts.
Just to connect–if viewers know of a family member or friend battling Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis–point them to my blog, let’s connect on social media, the IBD family is welcoming and there’s no reason to take on this disease alone.
People can connect with me online:
Facebook: Natalie A. Sparacio (spuh-rah-C-oh)