Living with Crohn’s disease: Kristopher’s story

Crohn's and Colitis can make the lives of patients -- and the people who love them -- more challenging.

But one local couple is finding new ways to live a happy life, in spite of the diagnosis.

Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two forms of inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBD. It's a life-long condition that causes parts of your digestive system, also known as your gastro-intestinal tract, to become inflamed.

"Unfortunately, this disease strikes patients at a very young age," said Penn State Health Navigation Nurse Anne Bobb. "The mean diagnosis is between 15 and 35."

According to research by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, an estimated 1.6 million people in the US currently have IBD and although it can occur at any age, Bobb says it's most frequently diagnosed in young people -- one being Kristopher Korzi, of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.

"I have Crohn's disease. I was diagnosed in 2007 as a senior in high school," he said. "That was a very poor time to be diagnosed."

Korzi has been living with Crohn's disease for 12 years and with help from his high school sweetheart and now wife, Jaynie, he has found ways to live a fulfilling life. But it was always that easy.

"The disease has really tried our relationship at times, but definitely has brought us closer together," he said. "She has taken one from the team on our diet as she eats the same bland food that I do, day in and day out."

On the list of foods to avoid: "Milk, pork, anything fried, anything green ... so my diet usually consists of mostly plain things like chicken and low-fat proteins."

The Korzis even created an Instagram page, aptly named "Guts and Food Glory," to document their lives through Crohn's friendly meals.

As for advice, the Korzis simply say: "Don't give up. Make sure the person that you love that has the disease knows that you are going to be there. That you are their support, on good days and bad days."

The Korzis say the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has been a blessing in their lives. They're excited to participate in the walk on Sunday and mark another year of research and progress in finding a cure -- and celebrate a community that supports them as they continue to support each other.

The walk, on Harrisburg's City Island, is this Sunday. Registration is at 10 a.m. The charity walks begins at 11 a.m.

The walk raises money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation to fund research to better treatments and possibly cures.

If you'd like to sign up or donate, click here.

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