Stephanie Davis, R.N., Norton Children’s Hospital, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was 10 years old. A form of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s affects approximately 700,000 people in the United States.
“I remember being pretty sick at different times and having to take medication to help manage my symptoms and to gain weight,” Davis said.
Davis hasn’t let the disease slow her down.
Today she is a mom, wife and caring nurse to her patients on 5 East/5 West. She sometimes shares her story as a way of encouraging young patients who also have the disease.
“When I have a patient who has a similar diagnosis to mine, I want to work with them,” Davis said. “If they are receptive, I offer to share my story. There are times I feel sharing my story is more beneficial to their parents. They are relieved to see someone who has carried on with the disease and been able to finish college, get married and have a child.”
One of the challenges Davis has encountered along her journey is infertility.
“I was never given a reason as to why I had infertility but was told it could have been related to my Crohn’s disease,” she said.
After three years and multiple fertility treatments, Davis became pregnant. She and her husband welcomed their son, Landon, to the family in January 2014. Shortly before then, Davis began participating in a Crohn’s and colitis support group.
“Having people who share your concerns, fears and challenges is helpful,” Davis said. “We share our experiences, learn from one another and provide support both in a group setting and through our friendships.”
In June, Davis served as the honorary chair for Louisville Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis, the annual fundraising walk of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Kentucky chapter.
“Stephanie is the face of the walk,” said Sandra Bowling, Take Steps walk manager. “She gives hope to people of all ages who struggle with the disease.”
Over the past three years, Davis has raised more than $4,000. She credits her success to her family, friends and co-workers, who support her in her fundraising efforts.
“Crohn’s disease is my condition but it doesn’t define me,” Davis said. “I will continue to share my story, and, thanks to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and my work as a nurse, I will have that opportunity.”