According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 60 to 70 million people are affected by digestive diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis and diverticulitis, among others.
These diseases can range from affecting people’s daily lifestyles greatly to barely inhibiting their lifestyle. Regardless, living with a digestive disease is lifestyle-changing no matter what.
At Gannon University, there is a club designed specifically for students with digestive issues called Gutless Guys and Girls. It is one of five chapters in Pennsylvania and Ohio, with other chapters being at Mercyhurst, Youngstown State, Ohio State, Duquesne and Kent State. All chapters have the same goal: to raise awareness for digestive issues and make the college experience better for students who suffer from them.
Club President Reganne O’Brien said the Gannon group is made up of students with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, gastroparesis, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues. “We were started to help college students with these diseases come together and find a much-needed support system on campus,” she said.
Gutless Guys and Girls, or GGG as the club is often referred to, sponsors a number of events during the year. All of them either bring awareness to digestive diseases or help fund the club and its mission to make campus a more inclusive place.
So far, the group has held an event called Smoothies and Sculpting. Club members made GI-friendly smoothies for students who wanted to participate, and those who attended got to sculpt as a way to relieve stress.
“These diseases can sometimes improve a bit with positive mental health and a healthy diet, but not always,” O’Brien said of the goal of the Smoothies and Sculpting event.
If you didn’t make it to Smoothies and Sculpting, GGG has quite a few events to look forward to. Right now, the club has its National Doughnut Day fundraiser going on through Nov. 3. Members will be selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts, coffee and gift certificates through Nov. 3, with delivery on Nov. 5. All proceeds will go to the Gannon chapter of GGG.
Make sure you also look out for IBD Awareness Week during the first week of December. O’Brien said the club will be tabling for awareness and holding other activities throughout the week to educate the community on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Those interested in joining should attend meetings or events. GGG is always looking for new members to expand its membership and make its club more diverse. “We would really love for any students, even with mild stomach issues, to give our club a try,” said O’Brien. “It can really help!”
For more information and updates, go to glamorousgutlessgirls.org.