Take Steps fundraiser in Tampa supports those living with inflammatory bowel diseases

By Regina GonzalezPublished April 21, 2024 2:31pm EDT

TAMPA, Fla. – Dozens of patients, doctors, caregivers and supporters of those living with inflammatory bowel diseases, marched around Midtown Tampa on Sunday morning in support of the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation.

The annual Take Steps Tampa Bay fundraiser kicked off with a ribbon ceremony, and 22-year-old Sydney Morgan held hers high as she reflected on what it’s been like living with colitis for the past six years.

“It’s so special and so empowering to be here,” Morgan stressed. “Just being able to celebrate patients and caregivers and doctors and hear other people’s stories and just be able to connect and just talk about experiences.”

The Orlando-based social media influencer has become an advocate for the IBD community ever since she was diagnosed.

“I was diagnosed when I was 16 years old and as a teenage girl, there’s already so many things going through your mind about body image or mental health issues,” Morgan added. “To add a chronic diagnosis on top of that was definitely hard, and it was hard to get through. I had emergency surgery to remove my entire colon or my entire large intestine in 2019.”

Sydney said she struggled trying to be a normal teen while wearing an ostomy bag and dealing with side effects from medication, but persevered thanks to organizations like the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation.

“I was able to connect with so many other girls my age that had similar diagnosis,” Morgan recalled. “We were able to share experiences which it can feel like such an isolating disease at times. And that was something that really helped me get through it.”

Now she is the one helping a younger generation.

With 10 million followers on TikTok and more than 700,000 on Instagram, Sydney has used her platform to educate the world on a disease that not many people tend to know much about.

“I make videos talking about my experiences and answer questions. I did a lot when I still had the ostomy bag, because that was one of my favorite things to share, ” Morgan laughed. “People had never seen it before, and I thought it was so weird and so fun.”

To learn more about IBD and “Taking Steps,” click here.


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