Parsa Iranmahoub (California)
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Hometown: Burlingame, CA
Hi! My name is Parsa, and I am a senior at UCLA studying Bioengineering in hopes of pursuing a career in medicine. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was eight. And to be quite honest, I don’t remember much from the time of my diagnosis besides the frequent trips to the bathroom, my lack of energy, and the two-hour car rides my family took to receive second opinions from a recommended pediatric GI. Instead, what I vividly remember is the emotional and mental stress that quickly followed with my “invisible” disease. I remember playing wall ball by myself in third grade because I simply did not have the energy to run around and play tag with the other kids. I remember growing self-conscious about my body image when I began to gain weight due to my medications. I remember throwing up every Friday for a whole month because the thought of my weekly injections made me nauseous. And in later years, I remember dealing with the frustrations of taking extra precautions with my diet, my sun exposure, my medications, and the multiple fistulas I developed. Fast forward thirteen years, and it’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve had Crohn’s for over a decade. Growing up, I did not know anyone with IBD. Actually, the first time I heard about resources like Camp Oasis was during the later years of high school, and even then I decided to shrug off all these amazing opportunities to meet other students who shared my disease. It wasn’t until college that I finally had the opportunity to meet and genuinely become friends with another IBD patient. By talking to her, I realized that IBD is not just inflammation in your digestive tract. That there are psychosocial, extraintestinal, and holistic components that many patients share. And that’s what convinced me to share my story! Now, I am proud to have participated in multiple Foundation events including Spin4, to be involved in IBD research as an undergraduate research assistant in the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, and to have co-founded a student organization on my campus that serves as a support network for students with IBD. And as a member of the NCCL, I am always excited to work with other amazing individuals across the nation to advocate, educate, and raise awareness for an “invisible” disease that affects so many students and young adults!