Kathleen Baker has Crohn’s disease, but she medaled at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
For 19-year-old American backstroker Kathleen Baker, her journey to the Olympics was not an easy one. Baker was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 12, a chronic gastrointestinal condition where the intestines are inflamed and ulcered.
But along with the support of qualified doctors, caring friends and family, Baker was able to defy the odds against her. She won the silver medal in the 100 metres women’s backstroke event in Rio earlier this week.
“I didn’t want to be known as that sick kid,” she tells the New York Times.
Her doctor, paediatric gastroenterologist Michael Kappelman, was at first concerned Baker’s goals mightn’t be realistic given the state of her condition. Fortunately, Dr Kappelman didn’t give up on Baker and her dreams.
“I found doctors who weren’t going to be just like, ‘You’re Kathleen with Crohn’s disease.’ I need to be Kathleen the swimmer with Crohn’s disease,” says Baker
More than 75,000 Australians suffer from Crohn’s disease or related ulcerative colitis. These diseases can make it hard for people with the condition to have a normal daily life, with frequent trips to the bathroom, nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea.
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