Walking for a cure

Published on June 1, 2014

Michelle Gough (left) and Matt McGuire walk hand in hand with their daughter Slaine, who is the honorary chair for the P.E.I. Gutsy Walk.

Slaine McGuire lives a normal life – mostly.

TYNE VALLEY - The 10-year-old lives with her parents and three siblings in Tyne Valley, goes to school and likes step dancing and figure skating.

She’s also the honorary chairman for the P.E.I. Gutsy Walk, a fundraiser for inflammatory bowl disease (IBD).

Slaine was diagnosed with IBD at age 6.

“She had very low amounts of energy and didn’t feel well the summer before Grade 1,” said Slaine’s father Matt McGuire. “In August we spent two weeks at the IWK in Halifax.”

Doctors had a hard time figuring out what was wrong with Slaine, but after a few weeks in hospital, they determined it was Colitis, a form of IBD.

Colitis causes inflammation in the colon and large intestine area, which leads to bleeding and sharp pains if not treated properly.

About 233,000 Canadians are living with IBD, but less than 6,000 are children.

Slaine has adapted to the lifestyle changes she had to make.

“I like pizza a lot, but for a week I couldn’t have any solid food,” she said. “I didn’t have many options unless I wanted to eat Jell-O for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.”

Four years have passed by since the diagnoses, and the McGuire family is still making careful decisions when eating.

“We all try to eat healthy as a family,” said Matt. “We’ve adapted our diet to make sure it’s as healthy as possible to prevent flare-ups.”

Living with Colitis can be painful and discouraging, but she said there’s no reason to not live a normal life.

“If you watch what you eat and don’t forget to take pills, you’ll be OK,” she said.

Slaine said taking the pills is the worst thing about Colitis.

“Some of them are really big and taste bad, and the medicine is gross, too.”

Slaine’s mission since being diagnosed is to raise money for the cure of Colitis and other forms of IBD.

She has set a goal to raise $1,500 before the Gutsy Walk on June 8, in Charlottetown. As of June 1, Slaine is just a few dollars away of reaching her goal.  

For donating to IBD research, visit gutsywalk.com.