Week of July 16, 2008

RYAN FIDELL, UNITED HEBREW CONGREGATION

Sixty of Ryan’s friends joined him at a fun-filled evening at SkyZone to help him raise money for teens suffering from Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These kids, representing five different schools, each donated their own money to jump, play dodge ball and buy raffle tickets to support this great cause.

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Ryan, son of Shellie and Dan Fidell, sold raffle tickets to raise additional dollars for this worthy cause. Prizes, such as water bottles, T-shirts, and balls were generously donated by SkyZone. At the end of the night, Ryan raised $500.

Ryan’s mitzvah project was very special to him as he has family and friends that suffer from Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. He said he “learned that if something is important to you, and put your mind to it, whether it is your Torah portion, your speech or your mitzvah project, you can exceed even your own goals or expectations.”

In addition to his SkyZone event, Ryan and his family volunteered at the June 28 Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) “Take Steps” event. Take Steps is the nation’s largest event dedicated to finding cures for digestive diseases. Participants raise money for crucial research and raise awareness of these two painful and unpredictable diseases as well as bringing together the Crohn’s and colitis community in a fun and energetic atmosphere.

Prior to the 3-mile walk, Ryan, a student at Parkway Central Middle School, spent time in the “kids coral,” an area for both kids and families of children with Crohn’s and colitis. For about 2-3 hours, he was at the dunking booth encouraging kids to “take their best shot” at dunking him. When he wasn’t dripping wet, Ryan was helping the kids throw the ball or helping his mother at the Inflatable Moon Bounce House.

After the race, Ryan presented his check to the director of CCFA. He hopes that his money can go to Camp Oasis, which provides a weeklong camp experience for kids with Crohn’s and colitis. He feels very fortunate to have had three years of going to a sleep-away camp and hopes that every child, who is well enough and wants to, have that same opportunity to experience camp.

By the latest estimates, approximately 1.4 million Americans have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The unpredictable nature of the diseases — never knowing when you might spend two weeks in the hospital, require surgery, or miss an important personal event — creates a significant burden on the community and the economy: more than $1.26 billion in direct and indirect costs annually, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.

To make a donation in Ryan’s honor and find out more about the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, please visit their Web site at: www.ccfa.org/chapters/midamerica/.

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