WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield siblings Alicia and Cooper Harris won’t let a chronic condition hold them down. Both teens suffer Crohn's disease, an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.
The two are proud to have been asked to be this year’s pediatric honored heroes at the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's walk in Liberty State Park this June.
“We get to tell our story and hopefully help all the kids out there with either Crohn's or colitis to know it's okay, we're going to help each other and find a cure,” said Alicia, a freshman at Westfield High School. “We walk to let everyone know that these inflammatory bowel diseases happen to a lot of people and that a cure is getting closer every day.”
Alicia said they have been lucky with doctors and support groups that help her family understand the autoimmune disease better.
“The biggest advice we give to kids when they find out they have a chronic illness is, it's really not too bad,” Alicia said. “Everyone, everywhere has something they are working through and this is just our thing. Our lives are completely normal and, aside from some extra doctors visits and treatments, we do everything our friends do.”
Their team, Team Harris, has a goal of raising more than $20,000 this year.
“The highest we've raised so far, as a team, had been a little over $14,000,” said 13-year-old Cooper. “We're going to need a lot of help.”
To learn more about Alicia and Cooper’s story, to sign up for the walk and to donate, click here.