I am the founder of PH Development and I have Crohn’s Disease. In my Senior year of NCAA hockey at Concordia College, a top private liberal arts Institution in Minnesota, U.S.A, I began to experience symptoms that affected my quality of life. Rolling out of bed in the morning, keeping up with my studies, going to practices and games began to take a toll on my body and well being. When my parents saw me during visits, throughout my four years of university, they enjoyed watching our Friday and Saturday homestand. My father having come from a hockey background would discuss the games and provide feedback on my play as a father typically does. He would often say when he came to visit that my play from Friday to Saturday was ‘night and day and it was like watching two different players’. My mother would comment when I came home to visit for Christmas or when she would visit me at school, “You look thin.” “You look tired and have dark circles under your eyes.” In retrospect this was the first indication that something was wrong with my health.

My Hockey season had come to an abrupt halt as we had a heartbreaking loss in the conference semi finals. I will always cherish those four years with my teammates and classmates. There is a special bond that you develop amongst your university hockey colleagues which in my opinion is found no where else. We practise and play together, eat together, go to school, study and live together. These friendships last a lifetime. My bachelor education was coming to a close. Senior year. Graduation, celebrations, festivities. Exciting times – right?

The last few weeks of my senior year, my condition had turned into extremely debilitating symptoms. I frequently had pain and trouble going to the bathroom, couldn’t stomach a meal, was constantly fatigued and experienced extremely low energy levels. I remember barely being able to get up for a noon class during the latter part of my spring semester. I didn’t disclose any of my symptoms to my hockey team, parents or anyone for that matter.

April is normally exam week at university which signals the end of the school year. It was spring 2013. We were ready to graduate. I remember being in the library studying for finals with a teammate and university colleague. We were on the brink of completing our Bachelor degrees. I remember looking across the table at my buddy and saying that something didn’t feel right. I was dizzy and asked him if he could drive me to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, I had extreme pain in my abdomen and could barely walk. My body was telling me to go and get help! My teammate stayed with me while they ran some tests. He waited with me for the results. The doctors informed me that I needed to be admitted immediately and that they had to perform an operation. There was fluid and infection in an area of my small intestine.

Little did I know that there was an infection and condition that had been brewing in my body that not only had put my hockey career in jeopardy but my life….

To be continued.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is a non- profit charity foundation dedicated to finding cures for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis that affect the lives of children and adults. Crohn’s and Colitis are both auto immune diseases which affect the large and small intestine. The disease is extremely debilitating and is highly prevalent in children under the age of 10.