Amanda Dewey, Penpal Coordinator

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at 19, and I was scared out of my mind.

Not only did I not know what IBD, UC, or Crohn’s were, but I had never even met anyone with these diseases. I felt so alone. I never knew that it was possible to wake up one day with a “stomach flu” and then never really be healthy again. It wasn’t until my doctors recommended three J-pouch surgeries, at 22, that I found Girls With Guts and went to my first retreat. Being surrounded by women who struggled to balance their diseases and lives just like I did empowered me to get through my next surgery and gave me so much hope! I now have a J-pouch and am living my life again and going after my new dream of being an ostomy nurse. I hope that the support others get from GWG will help them go after their dreams too.

Kristen Sanders, Blog Coordinator

Kristen Weiss Sanders is a proud ostomate and third generation girl with guts diagnosed with IBD in 2004. Raised in upstate New York, she moved to Atlanta in 2010 where she completed her master’s in neuroscience at Emory University.

Kristen is passionate about patient education and encourages those with chronic illness to be a knowledgable part of their healthcare team. She credits the constant example and support of the strong women in her family for her determination to thrive with Crohn’s disease and use her IBD journey to empower others.

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