PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Hundreds walked for a cure at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Sunday.
"I go to treatment at CHOP every eight weeks," said William Snow.
They're walking to secure funding for treatment and research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It's these developments that have helped 14-year-old Snow live a life like his friends.
"He gets to do everything. He gets to go to school, do competitive gymnastics, baseball, football, lacrosse," said Sherri Snow.
IBD families say CHOP's ninth annual Walk for Hope to support inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's and colitis is encouraging.
"My hope is that one day they really do find a cure and she doesn't have to deal with this," said Nichcole Burkowski.
"We went through many, many years of horrible struggling and living in hospital and the pain was ridiculous," said Laura Weiner.
The pain is now Laura's passion.
"I was really praying that he would one day be 50 when I turned 50 because it didn't look like he'd make it," Laura said.
She created the foundation "A Mother's Wish" to help families affected by Crohn's and colitis. She said her now 28-year-old son, Thomas, is at a point where he can be proud of his colostomy bag. The strength of IBD survivors like Thomas and 11-year-old Paige Borkowski is inspiring.
"If you do have it. Don't be ashamed of it. It's something that you have to go through and it's not a bad thing," Paige explained.
Crohn's is not always easy to diagnose.
"The biggest concern was her growth. She wasn't really growing. She wasn't gaining weight. She wasn't getting taller, wearing the same clothes for years," explained Nichcole.
"This is a disease that affects children that live in developed countries and it's increasing faster than any of the other pediatric diseases," said Doctor Bob Baldassano, the director of the IBD center at CHOP. He said diet, antibiotics and a genetic disposition are likely contributing factors. They don't know for sure. And, that is why they walk. Roughly $200,000 will be raised at the event and that goes directly to research.