Meet Sam Doucet. A friendly and outgoing 13-year-old from Coquitlam, British Columbia, the fun-loving eighth-grader is best known as an avid sports enthusiast with a love for the great outdoors. Always up for an exciting adventure, Sam spends the summer biking around his neighbourhood with friends and boating in scenic Osoyoos with his family. However, amongst all of the activities Sam takes part in, it is hockey that truly captures his heart. When he hits the ice, Sam’s agility easily lends itself to his favourite position on the team: goalie. Quick on his feet, Sam stops all of the shots that come his way. His agile nature shines through not only while on the ice, but also when facing any hurdles life throws at him.
In December 2015, Sam’s whole world changed. His parents, Kerri-Lynn and Paul, noticed something was not quite right with his health. A wide range of symptoms sparked concern about Sam’s well-being, leading to appointments to see their family doctor, which led to appointments with specialists at nearby hospitals. Eventually, the severity of his symptoms led to a two-week hospital stay as specialists diligently worked to identify the underlying cause.
“We were shocked to learn Sam has Crohn’s disease,” says Kerri-Lynn. “Words can’t quite describe how overwhelming it was to learn our son has a disease with no known cure.”
The news left their family facing many questions. What type of treatment could manage Sam’s symptoms? How would the diagnosis affect his education? Could he still play hockey? The uncertainty of how the disease could affect Sam’s daily life still exists.
“How Sam feels varies day-to-day,” says Kerri-Lynn. “Paul and I make sure our schedules are flexible in case he needs to go to an appointment or stay home from school because he’s not feeling well.”
While his journey with Crohn’s has not been easy, Sam credits his positive spirit for being able to manage the hurdles life throws his way.
“Sam’s […] energy can easily light up any room,” says Kerri-Lynn. “His positivity speaks volumes to his personality, and it shows he’s not going to let the disease prevent him from doing what he loves.”
The family began participating in the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Gutsy Walk the year Sam was diagnosed. When they heard about the event through the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) support group at the BC Children’s Hospital, the decision to participate was easy. They knew it would be a great way to meet other people in the community who have been touched by Crohn’s or colitis, help raise awareness about the diseases, and make a direct impact by raising money for much-needed research. They joined a walk team through the hospital, which is where Sam met his friend Logan, who also lives with IBD.
“It means a lot to me to have a close friend who understands what I’m going through. It’s awesome to be able to hang out and joke around without the need to talk about the diseases we live with,” says Sam.
Whether it’s attending Camp Got2Go or participating in his local walk, Sam’s circle of support and friendship continues to grow. This year, Sam and Logan are teaming up to lead the Gutsy Walk as National Honorary Chairs, and the dynamic duo is ready to rally communities across Canada in the fight against IBD.
“I’m excited to team up with Logan to lead this year’s walk,” says Sam. “It’s a great feeling to unite with others working towards the same goal of finding cures.”
The Gutsy Walk is on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Register, donate, or become a volunteer today.