Rebecca Patterson has battled Crohn’s Disease for nearly 25 years, after being diagnosed at age 15. The chronic condition marked by inflammation of the gastrointestinal or digestive tract, can sometimes make day-to-day life difficult and marked by pain or discomfort. But the Lexington, Va., native has always looked on the bright side: “I’ve been hospitalized numerous times, but I’ve been very fortunate to never have had any surgery that removed any part of my intestines,” she says.
In 2005, Rebecca became a widow at 32 when her husband suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving her to raise their two children alone. The stress made managing her Crohn’s a challenge.
In January 2011, Rebecca had an abscess surgically removed, but returned to work within a month. Now, she works hard to maintain her physical and emotional health, walking three or four days a week.
These days, Rebecca cherishes the support of a new blended family. “I met a wonderful man and his three children in 2008. He helps me mentally, physically, financially and emotionally,” she says. “My children and I couldn’t be more blessed to have them in our lives. Together we are a family of seven strong.”