A Great Neck high schooler will be the star of a local walk hosted by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
Maya Garfinkel, 16, will be featured as the Shining Star at the Oct. 20 event in North Hempstead Beach Park.
The Great Neck North High School student has lived with ulcerative colitis for two years.
The disease, which affects the large intestine, has isolated her from friends and family, Garfinkel said in a news release. But she wants to make a difference and help with efforts in battling the disease, she said.
“I like telling my story to others because I hope that it might help others feel like they are not alone,” Garfinkel said. “I’ve accepted that this is now a part of my life until there is a cure, and I want to be a part of the solution in any way I can.”
In addition to being the Shining Star at the walk, Garfinkel also has a personal page with the organization, where she is hoping to raise $5,000. So far, she has raised more than $3,500.
In March last year, her symptoms worsened to the point that she had to stop attending school, Garfinkel wrote on her page. At one point, she was in the hospital for 13 days.
“Each day in the hospital felt like a month,” she wrote. “I sat in the hospital, bedridden, too weak to move, watching my friends on social media live while I had to lay miserably day to day not knowing when the pain and urgency would end.”
More than 3.1 million Americans have Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis, both digestive diseases, according to the foundation.
The walks, called “Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis,” are the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s biggest fund-raising event.