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7th-Grader Giving Back to Help Others with Crohn's Disease

Thursday, April 14, 2016

In 2014, Eliana Goldsamt was excited about her first year in middle school. But things quickly took a turn for the worse for the 6th-grader. Eliana started feeling sick, and she had intense stomach discomfort. Eliana was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, an incurable condition that affects the lining of the digestive tract and causes severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue.

 For an entire year, Eliana struggled to keep up at school. She missed 33 days, and her symptoms were not improving. Eliana’s mother, Stacey, decided they needed to make a change, and she brought Eliana to Children’s National.

“Crohn's disease can be painful, and may severely affect a child’s quality of life,” said Dr. Laurie Conklin, Eliana’s doctor and the director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease program. “Crohn's disease is typically treated with medications such as steroids and immunosuppressants to slow the progression of the disease. Some people can be symptom-free most of their lives, while others, like Eliana, can have severe chronic symptoms that don’t go away.”

Eliana’s health is improving with a new course of treatment in which she undergoes two- to three-hour infusions of a medicine called Remicade every seven to eight weeks. Dr. Conklin said, “She’s truly jumpstarted the process of staying well and managing her health.”

Eliana said, “If it wasn't for Dr. Conklin, her expertise, bedside manner, and her incredible nursing team, I would not be where I am today. I’m feeling a lot better than I did last year!”

For her Bat Mitzvah, Eliana is raising funds for Dr. Conklin's research to help children like her. You can support her campaign by making a secure online gift


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