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Fanshawe all-around athlete running for a cause


Left: Fanshawe athlete, Danielle Austin, plans to run 63 km from Grand Bend to London in June 2018, to raise funds and awareness for Crohn's and Colitis disease. Right: Danielle Austin (right) battling for control of the soccer ball against her twin sister Kaitlyn Austin (left) in the midst of a soccer match.

Jen Doede | Interrobang | Sports | September 11th, 2017

On June 1, 2018, nursing student Danielle Austin will participate in a 63 kilometre run to help raise awareness and funds for research on Crohn’s and Colitis disease.

The run, titled Kicking Some Guts One Step at a Time, will begin at Grand Bend and finish in London. Individuals interested in running a kilometre or two alongside Austin are encouraged to contact her. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada will provide a baton for runners participating in a partial component of the otherwise daunting run.

In November of 2015, Austin was surprised to learn she was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s disease after displaying a few symptoms.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada website, Crohn’s disease is a lifelong illness that causes inflammation to parts of the digestive tract.

Symptoms include cramping, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy and weight loss. Currently, there is no cure for the disease.

“The first year [of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease] was a struggle,” Austin said. “I would become short of breath very easily. After running one length of the soccer field I would have to get subbed off. I would also fall down because I was too weak because of the Humira I was on.”

Austin has been in remission for one year this September.

Austin will also be starting her third year of the Fanshawe/Western collaborative nursing program this September.

She said she aspires to become a nurse in the gastroenterology field to give back and help people who have gone through similar experiences.

Austin explained that she applied for the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award last spring and was selected as the runner-up. The award is given to a student athlete in the Southwestern Ontario region who demonstrates courage on and off the playing field.

She attended the award banquet and listened to Jeffrey’s story, which inspired her to create her own initiative to raise funds for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada by doing something that she loves to do, running.

When training for the run, Austin explained that she has a couple of practice partners that she runs with.

In addition, Austin will participate in 15 km run on Sept. 9 and plans to run a half marathon during the month of October and a full marathon sometime before her run next spring.

“I am running for the Crohn’s and Colitis patients who are not in remission or who are not healthy enough to run,” Austin said.

Austin grew up playing sports such as soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball, badminton and track and field all throughout high school.

She decided to try out for the women’s varsity soccer team during her first year at Fanshawe and made the team. She is also the recipient of the 2014-2015 Fanshawe Rookie of the Year award for outdoor women’s soccer.

Alexandria Peat, a recent Fanshawe graduate from the dental assisting program, will also be running the full distance of the marathon alongside her friend.

“When I found out that Danielle struggled last year with just being able to do basic things like attend class and play soccer, something that I take for granted, it encouraged me to support those who are unable do those things,” Peat said.

Austin’s fundraising goal is to raise $2,000 for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in order to facilitate their research and develop a cure.

Individuals interested in donating to Austin’s cause can visit her personal page on the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada website at