Krista Olson traveled to Iceland with her flag named Gord to promote travel and healthy living for people with Crohn’s Colitis. (Krista Olson/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley resident celebrates 25 years of Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis research with virtual event

Event co-chair Krista Olson will walk with family, including her 104-year-old grandmother, on Sunday

Krista Olson, a 39-year-old Langley resident, was diagnosed in 2010 with Ulcerative Colitis.

“I had rough go for the first few years after diagnosis and having to find the right medications that would work for me,” Olson told the Langley Advance Times. “But I am now in remission for the last two years now.”

Olson started to do hiking adventures in 2016 with a group of Crohn’s and Colitis supporters, visiting Iceland, the Grand Canyon, Mexico, Costa Rica, and all throughout the United States.

With her always on these excursions is a homemade flag with the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada symbol, which she named Gord.

“I take pictures with the flag when I do all of my hikes,” she explained. “I had the vision of promoting healthy lifestyles and travel for people with Crohn’s and Colitis.”

Olson was planning on going to Tokyo on Aug. 25 to climb Mount Fuji, but had to cancel due to COVID-19.

Instead, she’ll be taking part in Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s annual Gutsy Walk, the country’s largest community event committed to raising funds for research, which will be marking it’s 25th year virtually on Sunday, Aug. 23.

“I joined the Fraser Valley West-Gutsy Walk planning committee five years ago and have been the chair for the Fraser Valley West location for three years now,” Olson explained.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada facilities the annual fundraiser, focusing on discovering cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and improving the lives of everyone affected by the life-altering diseases.

Last year’s walk in the Fraser Valley West, which included Langley, Surrey and Delta participants, made a big impact on the lives of the over 1200 people who live with IBD as the event raised $50,635.

“This year, due to COVID-19, we are doing a virtual Gutsy Walk. That means that anyone can now participate, at anytime, from any location. They can choose to do whatever activity they want on walk day. Walking, hiking, bike riding, etc,” Olson said.

She won’t be walking alone either.

Olson participates by putting together a family team to fundraise – including her grandmother who holds the title of “Oldest Walker in Canada” at age 104.

“We will be going to her care facility on walk day and filming her walking around the courtyard of her facility as we have to follow strict social distancing guidelines,” Olson noted. “She also has been participating in the Gutsy Walk for the last five years along with me.”

Participants are encouraged to send their walk day photos and videos through social media and email so that Olson can share them to Gutsy Walk’s own social media and show that the community is still going strong.

Gutsy Walk will be held between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Facebook (@getgutsyfraservalleywest) and Instagram (@getgutsyfraservalleywest) with speeches, warm ups, and other events throughout the day.

READ MORE: Bikers hit Fraser Valley roads this coming Saturday with anti-bullying message

“This year has been difficult for everyone due to the coronavirus,” Olson admitted. “We are hoping with our event to still show that we have a strong Crohn’s and Colitis support community that we have been working hard to build for the last 25 years.”

The 2020 fundraising goal is $52,000.

Interested participants can visit www.gutsywalk.ca for more information.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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