[This post is part of a multi-city volunteer program for Take Steps to help find a cure for Crohn's and Colitis, both IBD diseases that affect millions of Americans. Take Steps by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation is so meaningful for our agency family & we’re walking for treatment, research & life-giving patient programs.]
When I was nineteen years old, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
These days, chances are good that you’ve heard of Crohn’s or Colitis, but it wasn’t too long ago that few people knew what that meant. Thanks to an increase in pharmaceutical commercials and a few key celebrities (here’s looking at you Mike McCready and Pete Davidson), my misbehaving colon has become the subject of some conversation.
—It’s worth noting that as I type this, I’m sitting at 33,000 feet on a five-hour flight from Portland, Oregon to New York City. The horror! My worst nightmare is that ‘fasten your seatbelt’ sign right as I’ve got an urgent need to do the exact opposite. For those of you that might not know, IBD patients need quick access to a bathroom like developers need well-written user stories: if a clear path isn’t laid out...well, let’s just say things can get complicated. No one likes to improvise.
As you can probably tell, I like talking about my disease.
In fact, I actively talk about it. Both Crohn’s and Colitis are isolating, and because of that, they can take a serious toll on mental health. That’s why events like Take Steps—The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s annual fundraising event—are so important. Of course, the money goes a long way toward critical patient services and research. But equally important is the conversation being had. The more we talk about this disease—the more we facilitate the conversation—the sooner we develop cures.
I’m proud to say that Phase2 has chosen to be part of this conversation. This year, we participated in Take Steps events on each coast. I wish for the sake of others that I was the only reason for that, but the truth of the matter is that IBD has affected the lives of more than one employee at our company. So when Phase2 gathered together at the PDX Take Steps walk, I knew it was because our company wanted to do its part. We want to help facilitate the conversation—and change.
Now, as we move headlong into summer, our sights are set on another major milestone: partnering with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation on new digital experiences for donors, patients, and caregivers. Of all the reasons I’m proud to work for this company, this has to be at the top of the list. I can think of no better way to further the conversation than to develop a platform upon which information can be shared more freely and more efficiently. Some might look at the new website and think it’s just that: a website. What’s the big deal? But Phase2 sees so much more.
We see communication. Research. Inspiration. Mostly, we see a lot of hope.
In this industry, it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day humdrum of development: testing, tickets, PRs, hurry-ups! But it’s important we lift our heads up once in a while and remind ourselves of what’s really happening here.
Our developers aren’t just coding a feature.
They’re helping families in rural communities find resources and answers. They’re not just designing a new UI. They’re making life a little bit more intuitive for people who’ve just had their world turned upside down. So no, we’re not just building a new website. We’re facilitating change. And hopefully, thanks to the amazing work of The Foundation and medical care specialists around the world, in another ten years, we may not need to have this conversation at all.