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Fund-a-Cure: Jami & Jade

JADE: We are twins. We are identical twins for that matter. It really is just an unspeakable
bond that you can’t even explain. JAMI: Sometimes freaks people out (yeah). JADE: Ultimately, it’s your best friend all the time. JADE: Growing up we were very healthy kids. We were both athletes in gymnastics and high diving,
so both very physically fit until we were about 18 when we went to university.
We started to experience bloating, cramping, just severe abdominal pain, running to the
washroom. JAMI: We then went to see doctors who said
“it’s stress, it’s what you’re eating.” We knew that wasn’t necessarily the case—but
of course, you listen to a doctor. TERRI: Because they were athletes, it was hard to picture that they weren’t healthy but my gut told me it was something more. JAMI: And then I had a severe reaction to
it. I looked like a burn victim from head to toe.
I lost my hair. It lasted an entire year. JADE: It was horrifying.
JAMI: It really was, so she stopped the drug and I stopped the drug and we went back to
square one, which was no drugs. JADE: Emotionally, watching her go completely
downhill and I was kind of staying afloat it was devastating but also scary because
at any second I was going: “what if I fall into this and I won’t be able to be there
for her and to take care of her?” JAMI: I’ve been in and out of hospital for
the last four years. She has been there for me through every
single one. JAMI: My mom rushed me to Mount Sinai and they took one look at me and said “you need
to have surgery or you’re not gonna make it.” I ended up being rushed in for emergency surgery
before my bowel perforated. I was living on blood transfusions.
I couldn’t leave the hospital for weeks. JADE: They told her if she didn’t have the
blood transfusions her hemoglobin was at a level that in a traumatic car accident she
would have been dead. JAMI: There were certainly days I wanted to give up; where I was like “I’m not gonna make it.
I don’t want to make it.” TERRI: It breaks your heart. I was so proud of Jade being such a support to her sister. JAMI: Jade gave up having a full-time job. I was her full-time job. JADE: It’s very hard to watch your twin suffer, you know? It just “why you, not me?” and
wondering “is she gonna make it out of this?” JAMI: When they kept telling me that having
a permanent ostomy bag was a possibility that was pretty much my worst nightmare. I went “I’m single.
I haven’t even found somebody to accept me for the way I am now. There’s
no way somebody’s gonna accept me after a surgery and having a permanent ileostomy. JAMI: So I have an ostomy bag, which means that they’ve attached my ileum—the bottom
part of my small intestine—to the surface of my skin and it gave me my quality of life back. The bag does not define me.
The disease does not define me. TERRI: She came home from the hospital showing her friends, going to the cottage, wearing
two-piece bathing suits, and just having no fear. I realized that she’s gonna be one of
a new generation of strong women and her sister was going to be right by her side. JADE: We love it.
JAMI: We love my bag. It means that I live life to the fullest. JAMI: I have news and I just recently got
engaged to the man of my dreams. My fiancé’s name is Andrew. He has told me I was beautiful since the day he met me. ANDREW: I love her. She is very beautiful.
I want to spend the rest of my life with her in sickness and health. JAMI: This is the first time in four years that I do not have another surgery scheduled
on the horizon, so I am upwards and onwards. So yeah, I’m doing very well. JADE: I’m scheduled for a little surgery but I know I’ll get better and thrive again. JADE: We are both quite involved with
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. We’ve been doing the Gutsy Walk
every year since we’ve been diagnosed. Jami is also mentoring people with ileostomies, so I want to tell my sister that she is so brave and that I’m just so proud of her. TERRI: Research for Crohn’s and colitis is so important. I don’t want any other family
to have to live through this and hopefully this generation
is the generation that stops this pain. JAMI: I hope to God that people will donate to this cause and just give people a second chance at life because this is my new life and I am going strong.

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