Connie Pasek (Wisconsin)
School: Marquette University
Major: Secondary Education and Biology
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Hi! My name is Connie Pasek, and I’m proud to be an NCCL member and fellow IBD warrior. I’m currently a sophomore at Marquette University pursuing a double major in secondary education and biology. I hope to teach high school biology in the Milwaukee Public School system following graduation. My IBD symptoms came on suddenly and very strongly after high school graduation. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in August 2017, and I spent the next 6 months constantly in and out of the hospital for procedures, blood transfusions, and medication infusions. After trying a steroid and 2 different biologics in hopes of finding remission, I realized that my case was too severe to rely on medication alone. I underwent a total colectomy in December 2017 and lived with my ostomy, Franklin, for 3 months following my surgery. I looked forward to enjoying a symptom-free life with my ostomy for a few months to allow my body the time it needed to reset, but a painful case of pyoderma at my stoma site forced me to push up my second surgery. I had my ostomy take-down, J-pouch construction, and final reattachment completed in March 2018. I celebrated being able to move away from home and attend classes at Marquette. Since my last surgery, however, I’ve had to fight flares on and off from a stubborn patch of inflammation in the cuff of my J-pouch. Now on a biologic to manage my UC, I’m slowly on track to achieve full remission. I first became involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation after I participated in Take Steps Chicago. I’ve been a Team Captain for the past 2 years, interned in the CCF Illinois Chapter office managing their social media for fundraising events, and will act as the 2020 Glenview Take Steps Honored Hero. My involvement with the Foundation and its programs/events has immensely helped me accept and love my disease despite the challenges I’ve faced because of it. I’ve learned and continue to preach that my UC is not something to be ashamed of but rather something to embrace with pride. As a member of the NCCL, I’m excited to act as an advocate for patients like myself. I want to change the way the world looks at Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and show patients that, while it is so tough to live with IBD, you are never alone; I am in your corner. Together, we will find a cure.