Saturday's zoo walk helps those with bowel diseases - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Saturday's zoo walk helps those with bowel diseases

Posted by KLKN.

On Saturday, you could walk with the animals and it was for a good cause.

Lincoln Children's Zoo hosted the 9th annual take steps for Crohn's and colitis event Saturday morning.

More than 200 people showed up for the walk, with the goal of raising $40,000 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation.

Aaron Castens, executive director of the foundation's Nebraska/Iowa chapter, said they hope to raise awareness and money for research and patient support services.

"These diseases are kind of a silent disease," Castens said.  "Inflammatory bowel disease is not something that everyone wants to talk about, but the importance of this is really to build a community of support for the patients that we care a lot about."

Castens said they want to empower patients, and give them a chance to share their stories.

One in 200 Americans have Crohn's or colitis, with 70,000 new cases diagnosed each year.  Ten-thousand Nebraskans, including 17–year–old Libby Christman, are among those battling the disease.

"It's a really tough disease because on the outside you look okay, but on the inside, you're in a lot of pain," Christman said.  "And people don't realize, like people think you're just making excuses, when really you're not."

The Take Steps walk isn't just for those battling Crohn's or colitis.  It's also for people who want to understand more about the challenges those who are diagnosed face.

"It feels really good to know that all of these people are supporting people that have Crohn's disease," Christman said.  "It's really unique to see people that I know that I didn't know had Crohn's disease, so it's really cool."

They said Saturday's turnout helped spread their message.

Castens said despite the rain, they had a record day—raising $45,000.

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