Cody Wilson Gutsy Grant AwardMy name is Cody Wilson. I was born in Seattle, Washington on May 27, 1992. Life for me was hard from the beginning. Being born 9 weeks early saved my life. The doctor found I had developed Necrotising Enterocolitis and before I knew it, I was in surgery. They removed approximately 2 feet of my large intestine and most of my terminal ilium including my ilealcecal valve. To this day, that is the only surgery I have had.

I was always embarrassed and I couldn’t tell my friends about my issues. I lived like this most of my life. I didn’t realize how bad it was for me and how much it affected my quality of life until I got into my teen years. I was more independent and had to plan my day more carefully. When I was about 17 or 18 years old, I ended up in the E.R. because I had awful stomach pains and I could barely stand up. I dropped down to 100 pounds. I never took my Iron supplement and that finally caught up to me. Once my Iron levels were stable, my pains went away and I slowly put on a little weight. But not much. After that incident, I began to think about everything else I deal with on a daily basis. I had to get help and fast. I went to all the doctors I could near by. We tried every medication with no real success. I started researching all I could about my condition. A couple years went by with no good news. It was hopeless. It took everything I had to make it through High School and I tried working as much as possible. I tried to make a normal life for myself but in the end, I was still stuck with no answers.

Finally, I found the Short Bowel Syndrome Foundation founded by Andy Jablonski. I sent Andy a message on Facebook one day after trying everything else I could locally. I explained to him my story and how I really needed help. Andy immediately got to work doing what he could to help me out. After a few months of researching and seeing what my options were outside of where I live, Andy finally was able to get me an appointment with his own personal doctor in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s a 13 hour drive but I told myself I would do anything to see a real specialist for my SBS.

I am still in the process of finding out the best way to manage my life with Short Bowel Syndrome. Everyday gets better and with the help of Andy and this new doctor, anything is possible. The reason I want this reward is not to enjoy the money myself, but give it to my mother who has sacrificed so much to help me out. Whether it’s used to pay bills, or just for her pleasure, she deserves it.

I try to remind myself that no matter what my future holds, I will always have some bad days. It’s what I do with those days that make a difference. If it wasn’t for Andy and my amazing friends and family, I don’t know where I would be today. I have learned a lot about myself and SBS these last few years. I know now that even when i’m struggling, I can still have a good day. I will continue to grow and better myself however I can.