Camper and Counsellor - Christy’s love for Camp Got2Go continues to grow 

Christy Tignanelli

Christy Tignanelli’s stomach aches started when she was 15 – then grew to constipation, weight loss and extreme fatigue. She just wanted to curl up and lie in bed all day. 

A few months later, in May 2017, she was flown by air ambulance from her hometown of North Bay to the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) in Toronto. She went through a barrage of tests – including multiple colonoscopies and MRIs. After a second colonoscopy, doctors found intestinal inflammation that led to a Crohn’s disease diagnosis. One of the first treatments was a feeding tube through her nose to reduce the inflammation.  

She returned home but soon had to return to HSC and be fed intravenously because the feeding tube through her nose had not resolved the intestinal inflammation. She was put on biologic drug infusions every five weeks – a medication she continues to receive today. It has been essential to control her Crohn’s. 

At this time, she was starting grade 9 at a new high school for her and missed many days: “The biggest thing was adjusting in high school – which is already intimidating, scary, hard to make friends. Missing school and having new friends ask ‘where did you go’ was embarrassing.” 

Leading up to the summer of grade 10, her mom heard of Camp Got2Go. Christy was unenthusiastic: “I was hesitant because I still wanted to be involved with my social circle. I didn’t really want to go to a sick kid camp. That was my mentality.” 

In the end, she agreed to go. In summer 2018, she flew to Toronto, met a group of other Ontario youth, then flew to the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s Camp Got2Go in Nova Scotia. The upshot: “I had such a blast. I loved the camp. I loved the people. I’ve made lifelong friends. It was my favourite experience to date.” 

The proof she loved it – she returned in 2019, this time in Ontario.  

Following the COVID-19 hiatus in 2020-2021, she returned to camp in 2022. This time, she was a volunteer counsellor, one of the many who live with Crohn’s or colitis. Again in 2023, she was a counsellor. 

As a counsellor, it was a new experience to offer campers her perspective, especially during informal chats in the bunkhouse: “The campers often say, I’ve never met anybody like you or me, or you’re so strong. That’s a lot to hear from a little 10-year-old girl who’s also going through it.” 

Christy hopes to continue volunteering at camps, which may evolve as she is studying nursing at Western University in London, Ontario, and could become a camp nurse down the road. She says: “I’d love to keep being involved. If there are more ways to contribute, it benefits me – but also everybody else as well.” 

One thing that likely will not change is the hardest part of Camp Got2Go – saying goodbye when it is over: “There are always tears leaving camp. Even as a counsellor, I cry when leaving and saying goodbye to all of them.” 



Christie and Camp Got2Go kids

Christy – middle row, fifth from left – with other campers at the 2019 Ontario Camp Got2Go  

Camp counsellor Christy and Camp Got2Go kids

Christy – middle – with her bunk house mates as a counsellor in 2022 at the Ontario Camp Got2Go

Christie and other Camp Got2Go counsellors

Christy – second from left – with other counsellors at the 2022 Ontario Camp Got2Go.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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