A Father's Personal Mission
When you ask Dr. Robert Reiss what he is most proud of, he will respond with stories of his three children. This everlasting love for his children is what motivates him to lace up his sneakers each and every year to walk with Take Steps. Two of his children – David and Erica – have been living with Crohn’s disease since age 11.
Dr. Reiss was first involved with Take Steps before it was an actual walk. At the onset, he participated in a run at UCLA before it officially organized into Take Steps. He walks with one goal in mind – to find a cure for David and Erica, and everyone else suffering from IBD.
Both David and Erica have benefited from advancements in medication developed in part due to research funded by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Dr Reiss recalls one emotional memory from Take Steps involving his grandson, Owen. “One of my favorite memories from Take Steps was walking with my grandson. Actually, Owen was in a stroller at that time being pushed by my son, David with his wife. I was so pleased David was doing well and feeling healthy. He was on medication that was serving him well, medication that wasn’t even available when he was diagnosed in 1994. That medication is now available due to research funded in part by CCFA. I know that my fundraising makes a difference, because I see it playing out every single day.”
Dr. Reiss has made it a personal mission to continue fundraising. In 2016, his team raised more than $50,000 benefiting Take Steps and CCFA research programs (the highest fundraising spring 2016 team!) and since he started walking, his team has raised more than $213,000. His advice for fundraising like a champion? “Ask everyone for money. You never know who will be generous and open. Take it personally. When someone is quick to ask for my help, yet doesn’t respond when I ask for their help, I make a call. We’re all in this together.”
Dr. Reiss now has two grandsons, Owen and Charlie. “I will continue to work hard to help CCFA fund the cures needed for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) so Owen and Charlie and the billions of children throughout the world will not have to suffer like David and Erica did. No 11 year old deserves that fate. I’m grateful David and Erica are doing well, I want to make sure things stay that way.”