In this episode, Zach and Chelsie Leighter share their stories of battling Crohn’s Disease. Together since high school, they are now married with a little boy, Kash. Zach was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 12, has been on countless medications from steroids to biologics, and just one month ago had his temporary ostomy made permanent. His wife Chelsie, having watched Zach fight his disease for so many years, received her own Crohn’s diagnosis this past September. They are now dedicated to raising awareness about IBD and passionate about helping to educate others on what living with a chronic illness is like.
Zach and Chelsie talk about what it is like to both be battling a chronic illness–while raising a toddler–and share their advice for balancing work, stress, family, and Crohn’s. Zach talks about the lead up to his temporary ostomy and what is was like to make the decision to have it made permanent.
Determined to raise awareness for IBD, Zach recently became an ambassador for Jake Diekman’s Gut It Out Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for those in the IBD community through education, research, pediatric care, and support groups. As the pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, Jake Diekman has pledged $100 for every strikeout that he earns to help fund crucial research projects making advancements toward finding a cure for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Having already met his original goal to raise $1,000, Zach raised the bar. He and Chelsie are currently reaching out to local businesses in support of planning larger fundraisers in their area.
To keep up with Zach and Chelsie’s story or to contribute to their Gut It Out campaign, follow them on Instagram as The Unspoken Journey: