You Have the Power to Protect Me

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 9 years old.

I receive IV infusions of a Crohn’s medication at the hospital every 8 weeks. My Crohn’s medicine keeps my disease in remission, but the other effect is lowering my immune system.

Because my immune system is lowered, I rely on other people to make sure they get their vaccines.  I’m lucky that I haven’t gotten sick that many times since I started my Crohn’s medicine.  But, the times I have gotten sick I get a little scared.  I don’t know how sick I will get and I also get scared that I could make other people sick.  

I know my parents worry about me.  They worry that when I’m sick symptoms might get bad enough to bring me to the hospital.  I know they worry that I might get other illnesses – like measles or whooping cough.  

My grandpa got polio when he was a little kid.  He always walked with a limp because his legs were damaged from polio.  When he was older he couldn’t even walk and was in a wheelchair.  My dad has told me how hard polio was on my grandpa.  I learned about the polio vaccine in 3rd grade and I understand how it has minimized polio from doing much damage anymore in our country.  

I believe people should get vaccines.  It’s not my fault I have a disease and it’s not fair that my immune system is lowered.  But it does mean that I need help from other people to get their vaccines.  So, I want to thank my friends who have gotten their vaccines and ask people to understand why vaccines are so important.

Darby is 12 years old and lives with his mom, dad, cats, dog, and brother in the Midwest.