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Matthews is on the move for CCFA

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By Rebecca Roscoe

Cassandra Matthews, the daughter of Henry and Jane Matthews of Buffalo, has never lived a “normal” life.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 3, Matthews has gone through a constant battle with medicines, diet restrictions and numerous hospital visits.

“There have always been certain things that I cannot eat. I couldn’t have lettuce, up until three years ago, or anything with peanuts,” Matthews said.

“I had my first peanut butter sandwich with Sun Butter in May. I was ecstatic.”

Ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory condition, causes the innermost lining of the colon to become inflamed, potentially leading to the formation of ulcers. As many as 700,000 Americans are believed to have a form of the disease. In all, 1.4 million Americans suffer from Crohn’s – another gastrointestinal disease – or ulcerative Colitis.

Matthews, realizing what colitis sufferers experience, wants to make a difference. She has partnered with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Association to participate in this year’s Team Challenge marathon race.

“It was all my crazy idea,” said Matthews.

Team Challenge is the CCFA’s endurance training and fundraising program, that hosts half marathon and triathlon training programs to help those who want to make a difference, train and run to raise money for research.

Matthews, a member of the National team, will participate in the Women’s Half Marathon in Nashville on Sept. 28.

The course is 13.1 miles long and will take about four hours to complete.

To prepare for her run, Matthews has undergone intensive training.

“I’m stretching every day and running three to five days a week in the evenings,” said Matthews. “If I’m not outside running at Creekfront, I’m running on the treadmill at home.”

Matthews plans on doing core training and endurance training.

“Everyone on the National team has a coach. My coaches’ name is Dave. Every week we have group conference calls to talk about our progress and to help motivate each other,” said Matthews.

Sponsorships have helped Matthews raise more than $300 toward her goal of $1,900.

“I had wanted to do this for a couple of years now and I never had the guts to do it before –literally,” said Matthews.

“It’s raising money for the CCFA and I really want to help those with Crohn’s and Colitis,” she added. “That’s why I’m running. That’s why I’m fundraising. In the hope that the money people donate will lead to a cure for those suffering from Crohn’s and colitis. Together we can make a difference.”

Matthews is holding a fundraiser July 25 on Mr. Gatti’s Give Back Day in Elizabethtown. Customers must pick up a flier at the register and hand it to the cashier in order for 20 percent of their ticket to be donated to the CCFA.

For more information or to make a donation, visit http://www.ccteamchallenge.org/ to donate, www.active.com or visit www.ccfa.org.