We were both diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in our 20’s-Jamie in 1999 and Jill and 2002. Jamie spent the first few years with ulcerative colitis on a variety of medications and being in and out of the hospital. In 2004, Jamie had a colectomy – the surgical removal of the colon – and an ileostomy – and over a dozen blood transfusions. Later that year, she had a second surgery to reconnect her small intestine and create a J pouch.
She thrived following the surgery until 2007 when she began experiencing symptoms and extra intestinal manifestations; this included Pyroderma gangrenosum and fistulas. Jamie has since been re-diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and has lived with an ileostomy since 2011. Jamie has a successful career, and she travels nationally with the Ashar Group LLC, as EVP of life insurance policy valuations, speaking in front of large audiences.
Jill was diagnosed three years after watching Jamie live with ulcerative colitis. Although she was devastated by the diagnosis, watching her sister persevere helped her maintain a positive attitude. She lived with minimal symptoms and was able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy without any major flaring. Following the birth of her daughter, she became extremely sick and ended up taking time off from work to focus on her health.
In 2007, Jill had surgery to remove her colon and had her reconnection surgery three months later. Since her surgery, Jill has had some complications, including fistulas and inflammation, but she has been able to maintain a great life with her thriving career, daughter, and husband.
After such a long journey filled with hospitalization, surgeries, and much more, Jamie and Jill decided they wanted to get involved and raise awareness and funds for Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. We are active nationally with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for more than a decade.