Carly Lindsay works for awareness

by John on February 25, 2010 · 30 comments

Carly LindsayIf you’d asked me at the beginning of the school year last fall ‘would you ever have dreamed you’d be traveling to Nepal and trekking to Mount Everest base camp next spring?’ I’d say definitely not. After following my friend Clinton Shard’s trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2009, I felt inspired and started to think about whether or not I could ever do something that extreme. But I never thought I’d get a chance to see if I could. When I first heard that I was being considered to join the Everest trek, I was thrilled. I was jumping around my room with excitement. But I had no idea then how much this experience would forever change my life. We haven’t even left yet, but I’ve already done so many things I never thought I would have.

At just nine years of age, Carly Lindsay of Waterford, Ontario faced a life threatening illness and was forced to make a medical decision many adults can’t fathom having to make: suffer through debilitating pain or surgically remove her colon and forever change her digestive tract and her body’s natural appearance. Within our society, outlooks on a person’s physical appearance often impacts self-esteem, especially in the formative pre-teen and teenage years. Carly’s decision was life changing and extremely difficult to make. Demonstrating a maturity far beyond her age, Carly weighed her options, had ileostomy surgery and hasn’t looked back since. “I have to watch my diet,” said Carly. “But other than a few food restrictions, I’m basically symptom free.”

Awareness Campaign BeginsMany people who live with an ileostomy – a small abdominal opening for eliminating digestive waste post colon removing surgery – have to carefully watch their diets. Inflammatory bowel diseases affect different areas of the intestinal tract. Ulcerative Colitis usually inflames the large intestine, or colon, exclusively. Removing the diseased colon can often result in eliminating the painful symptoms of this terrible disease. But the absence of the colon causes other issues, namely in processing food and absorbing fluids and nutrients. A person living without their colon will often need to drink more to absorb enough fluids and avoid difficult-to-digest foods like raw, high-fiber vegetables.

“At first it was challenging learning which foods my body could handle,” explained Carly. “My doctors and nutritionists told me everyone is a little different, but certain foods are easier to digest and these are the foods I should make sure I get enough of.” Trekking through Nepal shouldn’t pose too many dietary challenges for Carly; most foods are cooked and there are few vegetables growing at altitude. Carly’s diet will be mostly rice, potatoes, chicken and beef, and a few cooked root vegetables like carrots and yam. She’ll be served soup at every meal and be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to combat the real challenge she’ll face: altitude. The thin mountain air found high in the Himalayas is extremely dry and trekkers who will need to drink often will feel challenged to do so because of the altitude.

The team leaves in just four short weeks, but Carly is already extremely busy telling her story to anyone who will listen. Carly tells us:

Getting ready for the semi formalI’ve already spoken to three separate groups – a lunch and learn session at MTO, to the faculty and staff of the Waterford District High School and to seven of my closest friends before our school’s semi-formal event. After my surgery I had managed to keep my ostomy a secret from everyone. But I don’t want to anymore.

I chose to tell my girlfriends all about my surgery and sickness while we were getting ready for the dance. I was a bit nervous but I knew I had to tell them before they read all about it in the newspaper! It is important for me to educate my friends about IBD and the ostomy because by making them aware of my situation I am making it easier for someone else in the future who may be faced with a similar challenge. If we tell more people about IBD and ostomy there will be fewer misconceptions about these conditions, making it easier for people facing them in the future.

Everyone is really supportive. My friends and family have been awesome, leaving comments on the IBD Adventures website and saying they are proud of me. My school has been really supportive too. They’ve been very flexible in helping me schedule work for the four weeks I will be away so that I don’t miss any important parts of my education and fall behind. They recently recognized me for an excellent attendance record – though that’s going to change in April!

Media Interview Reporter Monte Sonnenberg & Carly LindsayI’ve even been interviewed twice in the last couple of weeks for newspapers that go out to homes in our region of Ontario. Monte Sonneberg wrote this great article for the Simcoe Reformer that was published last week and Carol Steedman is writing a story that will be published in the Brantford Expositor. Between those two papers I will have made about 30,000 people aware of IBD and ostomy, which is pretty cool. My story is touching a lot of people and the response so far has been great.

We’ve already raised over $1500 towards my $5360 fund raising goal for IDEAS and I haven’t even left for the trek yet. People agree when I tell them how important the work of IDEAS is to raise awareness of intestinal diseases and educate people with the goal of ending stigma. They also support research for an IBD cure, but it’s really important that we support other children and youths living with IBD so that they can feel empowered and in control of their lives again. I’m happy to help IDEAS in this important work.

If you’d asked me at the beginning of the school year last fall ‘would you ever have dreamed you’d be traveling to Nepal and trekking to Mount Everest base camp next spring?’ I’d say definitely not. After following my friend Clinton Shard’s trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2009, I felt inspired and started to think about whether or not I could ever do something that extreme. But I never thought I’d get a chance to see if I could. When I first heard that I was being considered to join the Everest trek, I was thrilled. I was jumping around my room with excitement. But I had no idea then how much this experience would forever change my life. We haven’t even left yet, but I’ve already done so many things I never thought I would have. I’ve learned it’s not just the destination, it’s also the path to get there and the choices we make along the way.

Carly deep in thought

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

wendy shard February 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Carly thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a wonderful young adult, and a inspiration to children and youth who struggle with IBD. I am so happy that my son Clinton has such a wonderful traveling companion. You two will be an amazing team along with all the other trekkers.

Wendy and family

Stacey Dmetriuc February 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

We love you Carly :) your going to do amazing!

Raymond DePauw February 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Incredible….and you’re my neice! I am so very proud of you. You will be a role model for others!

Paul DePauw February 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

What a great experience you have coming up! You truly are an inspiration to so many people. You deserve every moment of it! Enjoy!

Brett & Leanne February 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Hey Carly! Heard the news! Have an amazing time on your adventure, send us lots of pictures. Love Leanne & Brett

Dawn Carroll February 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Carly….I wish you well on your trek to Mount Everest! Enjoy!

TRACE February 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Hi Carly! I think that this journey you are making is incredible – not just the hike , but the impact of sharing your story and changing perceptions/miconceptions about IBD. Enjoy and keep us posted on your adventures!

DSD March 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

What a great post here Carly and what terrific work you are doing for this cause!
You will surely have a wonderful journey, and I especially like your very last sentence above as it has resonated with me as well for many years now…
Have fun!
DSD

Christine DeAlmeida March 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

Way to go Carly! We are so proud of you and the work you are doing. You are an inspiration to all. And an awesome role model for other children suffering from life changing diseases.

Have an awesome journey in Nepal. This is an incredible experience for you. Enjoy every minute of it. Our prayers will be with you every step of the way as you trekk.

Love, Aunt Christine and Uncle Hyce

Super Baje March 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Namaste Carly,

Thanks you for the insight into what makes Carly tick. I can’t tell you what an honor it will be to walk along side both yourself and Clinton, on this trek of Happy Destiny. Your contribution to the IBD community, the youth you inspire, and your proud Parents, is such a priceless gift. Kathmandu in just 25 days-Woo Hoo!

Uncle Ian & Aunt Nancy March 2, 2010 at 1:54 pm

We are so proud of you Carly. Enjoy every minute of your adventure and look forward to seeing you at the Town Hall. Sending you all our love and support.

Marie Winn March 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Go Carlly Go! We are so proud of you ,and are certainly looking forward to seeing your accomplishments on you trek. Our group or those that have a computer are excited to be able to check in and see the progress you are making. We look forward to having you visit us on your return. Have a safe, healthy and enjoyable trip. This will be a memorable experience for you one which you won’t ever forget. Take care and see you soon. The Brantford & District Ostomy Association.

Bob Peterson March 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

I echo Super Baje’s sentiments-I feel privileged to accompany you and the rest of our group on this trek. You have so many supporters, friends and family who are cheering you on! This is going to be a GREAT adventure!
Nameste, Carly and Paul.

Erica Jefferies March 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Carly,
You are an amazing gal! Your story has impacted me very strongly. I feel lucky to have crossed paths with you and your parents. I would really like for you to speak at MEC when you return. I know you’ll be busy, but you know where I’ll be if you feel like spreading the word to the MEC community.
You have a beautiful, strong soul and it will carry you through your amazing journey. (but don’t forget to take care of your feet).
I will keep checking to see how your journey is going.
Lots of love and big bear hugs,
EJ

Alma and Peter Scovil March 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Namaste Carly,
We know you’re going to love Nepal and find it a fascinating country. What an amazing adventure and chance for you to raise awareness! Have a wonderful time, and we look forward to seeing pictures of your experiences when you get home.

Karin Shard March 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

Wow Carly,
You are an awesome young woman! And to share your story at a young age, is truly inspiring and brave! What a role model you are! Trekking to the Everest Base Camp will be such a momentous achievement which I can image is only the beginning for you and what you will accomplish in life! Have fun and take lots of photos!

Regards,
Karin (Clinton’s Aunty)

1st Waterford Pathfinders March 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Namaste Carly,
Thank you for coming out tonight to share your life’s journey with the girls.
We are very proud that one of our own former Girl Guides will be trekking to
the base camp of Mt Everest… you are an inspiration for all our girls!
We wish you all the best for your trek and look forward to hearing about your
adventures when you return!

Sherry Dewhirst March 12, 2010 at 12:38 am

What an adventure you are going to have Carly you have made all your friends so very proud of you

Brettney Brunton March 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Hey I see there is a poker tourny advertised on the main website page to raise money. I would like to go in it but I realized its in Vancover! kinda far! I guess I will have to fold and not go “All in” lol. I am rather jealous about this trek you are going on! I have been reading and it is going to be a trip of a life time! looks awesome! If you get tired along the way you can give me a call. I could come pick you up on my snowmobile! haha but it might take me a few tanks of gas to get there! Well I am sure you are in top shape for this trek anyways (not that you weren’t already). Well I hope to come out this Friday. Top of the World to you! Take care! Brettney

Brettney Brunton March 16, 2010 at 6:44 pm

I just tried leaving a message but it did not show up here I dont think? so I will try again.

John March 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Hi Brettney,

Sorry about the delay in posting your comment. Comments on this website are moderator approved first – after your first comment has been approved you should be able to post new ones immediately on every blog entry. Unfortunately we get a ton of spam comments so the only way to weed them out is to enable comment moderation initially.

Thanks for your support. We know that Carly appreciates it immensely, but you’d be pleasantly surprised to hear that the whole team takes a lot of energy knowing that there are literally mountains of support for all the Everest team!

Brian Quistberg March 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Hey Carly
You are a great role model for the students at Waterford District High School. You are a very positve and enthusiastic student. The courage and determination you have demonstrated will lead you and connect you to many other goals that will come to you in the future. I look forward to the assembly planned for Monday. Mr. Q.

Barbara MacKnight and Family March 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Good Luck and all the best on your trek!
We admire your guts and determination to do this to raise awareness. You are an inspiration and will be in our thoughts along your journey. Shine like a star, we are so proud!
Go Carly Go!!!

Liz DePauw March 20, 2010 at 7:27 am

Hi Carly:

Missing you and wishing you much success in your trek. I’ve been telling your story to the neighbours in the park here. Amazing. Laura called me last night and told me that the Town Hall was full of family, friends and community supporters. Way to go….you’ve won their hearts! You’re an incredibly determined and strong young lady. And one that we are all so proud of! The knowledge that you will gain in this wonderful adventure…….will last a lifetime. And memories that you’ll never forget! Love you lots! Aunt Liz

Lois Aicken March 23, 2010 at 6:39 am

Carly; It was an honour to be at your sendoff party Friday night. You are one amazing young woman!
Adversity brings challenges as well as oportunities. You have met and conquered the challenge – now seize the opportunity!
Auntie Crown

Liz DePauw March 25, 2010 at 6:09 pm

You’ve been gone just over 24 hours….and I’m on my computer thinking of you.
Wondering how the flight to Hong Kong was? How you’re feeling? I am in awe of this wonderful adventure you’re on. You will experience so many wonderful emotions and you will make lasting friendships. You will inspire other young people and be able to share your knowledge. But most importantly of all you will know how much you are loved by family, friends and your community of Waterford. I am sure that you are on such a high and feeling on top of the world! And you have every right to! Good luck and God Bless!

Dan T., age 8 now March 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Hi Carly, how are you doing over there. I bet there is very many things that people would be scared of, but you are not. I can’t believe that you are travelling to Mount Everest!!! I like the picture of you training on the waterfall. See you when you get home because your going to be staying for a long time.

Oma . April 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

Opa and I are looking at your pictures every day .Glad that it is all going well so far ..We have very nice weather right now .Hope it will stay for Easter You will miss the easteregghunt this year .Till the next time Carly love Opa & Oma .e

linda carter April 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

Carly~you are an amazing young lady! Uncle Alf and I are so blown away by your
courage……will see you in Turkey Point this summer and I will keep checking on
your progress! Bless you and stay safe!~

Destiny Stockdale April 20, 2010 at 6:34 am

missing you like crazy girl.
so glad to have you home in a few days!
we’re all sooo proud of you, and support you 110%.

stay safe, and have fun on the rest of your journey.
love youu!

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