My name is Dan Sharp, and I have Crohn’s disease. I was diagnosed 20 years ago, at age 12, although I first started having symptoms of Crohn’s at 18 months of age. It was a very difficult and painful journey to my eventual diagnosis, with many tests, procedures, late-night ER trips, and theories from various specialists, before discovering the true cause of my suffering.
Life as a pediatric Crohn’s patient ranged from difficult to nightmarish. One of my greatest goals as an adult is to help children that are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). As an IBD advocate, I feel I’m doing the most good when I’m helping the next generation of patients and advocates. I am going into my fourth year as a volunteer counselor and coordinator at two summer camps for kids with IBD, and it continues to be a life-changing and life-defining experience for me.
I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I’ve had in my “IBD life”. In addition to supporting, educating, and advocating for IBD patients of all ages:
- I have had the opportunity to speak about my experiences, and educate others about the struggles of IBD patients, at events in the United States and abroad.
- I have provided consulting services to a developing IBD center in a country with a growing population of IBD patients but with, until recently, little access to specialized care for their disease.
- I serve on the Patient Advisory boards of leading IBD centers in the United States.
- I am a core adviser for and contributing member of the IBD Social Circle, the collective aim of which is to bridge the gap between physicians’ knowledge and patients’ experience.
- I have provided volunteer fund-raising, member support, and outreach services for IBD-related non-profits.
I look forward to sharing with you my experiences as a pediatric Crohn’s patient, an adult Crohn’s patient, and as an IBD advocate, ambassador, educator, and caregiver.