I've partnered with Deep River Snacks to bring you this blog post. As always, thank you for supporting CNC!
It’s finally April, which means we are on the homestretch (fingers crossed!) to some warmer weather here in the Northeast! April will hopefully be the month we all come out of winter hibernation - but did you know that it’s also National Volunteer Month?
It’s so important for me to be able to spend my time giving back to the community by helping in any way that I can. Volunteering is SO necessary - even a little bit of your time can go a long way towards bettering someone else's life, and, at the very least, bring a smile to their face! That's why I'm so excited to partner with Deep River Snacks, a company that is truly devoted to giving back. In fact, their “Give a Chip” program is committed to donating at least 10% of net profits (in addition to truckloads of chips!) every year to charitable organizations that touch the lives of their employees and families. If you pick up a Deep River Snacks chip bag, you will find a different charity on the back of each one. I mean, awesome-tasting, better-for-you, and non-GMO (!!) snacks that are also dedicated to giving back to the community?! It doesn’t get much better than that!
The founder and CEO of Deep River Snacks is committed to helping charitable organizations that support families, based on his own family’s experience with chronic illness. In fact, one of his children was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, bringing this company even closer to my heart. I love supporting a brand that means so much on a personal level. You can actually find the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation on the back of the Rosemary & Olive Oil bag!
As many of you know, I suffer from a chronic illness, Ulcerative Colitis (you can read more about my journey with UC here). I was first diagnosed in June 2011 after my initial flare. I had so many hopes that the first one would be the last one, but, unfortunately, that’s not the way life goes! After my second flare in February of 2012, I quickly realized that fighting UC would be a long-term battle for my health. All I felt at the time was a jumble of emotions: I’m not a “sick” person! What does this mean for my quality of life? What the heck even is UC? Why me?
Needless to say, it was more than just a little scary, and the thought that I was now “different” than everyone else kept running through my mind. The second flare was even worse than the first - cue the sleepless nights, frequent trips to the bathroom, and endless discomfort. As someone who has been relatively healthy my whole life, I was upset and frustrated. I just wanted to be well.
At the time, I didn’t have a great doctor and he wasn’t very helpful in being a dependable resource. Sure, I had the diagnosis of “ulcerative colitis,” but I didn’t really even know what that meant or what to expect for the long haul. Anyone who has been diagnosed with an illness, chronic or not, knows how important it is to have people and resources to turn to that can guide you on the right path when you are feeling a little lost and just want answers. That’s why I feel so lucky to have discovered the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
The CCFA is a non-profit, completely volunteer-driven organization that is not only dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, but also focuses on ways to improve the quality of life for patients. Beyond research, the CCFA partners with healthcare providers to inform and empower both caregivers and patients through education and advocacy programs.
Those of you who have been long-time readers will probably agree when I say that I have run the gamut of UC treatments - from steroids, to acupuncture, to food sensitivity testing, to participating in medical studies, to finally trying biologics like Remicade and Entyvio. The truth is, I feel lucky to even have so many options! Did you know that not even 20 years ago the only treatment options available to IBD patients were steroids and narcotics, both of which have terrible long-term side effects? Now, IBD patients have so many treatment paths to try, all thanks to the to the dedicated research and cutting-edge studies that are funded by the CCFA.
Anyone who suffers from IBD knows how isolating the disease can feel. That’s why I am so glad that I volunteered at Spin4 Crohn’s & Colitis and attended the 2016 Boston Patient and Family IBD Symposium. It was amazing to be surrounded by people that understood the disease, helping me to feel a little less alone. Not to mention that Spin4 Crohn’s & Colitis was a huge success - us Boston volunteers raised over $40,000 for the CCFA! Woohoo!
The 2016 Boston Patient and Family IBD Symposium was so educational and eye-opening. There were a number of interesting and informative talks and workshops that we could attend, including "Staying fit with IBD" and "Traveling with IBD" - two topics that you know are near and dear to my heart.
One of the biggest challenges of traveling with UC has been finding snacks that are easy, portable, and good for you. And let’s be honest - sometimes you just crave a bag of chips when the hanger strikes! That’s why I love Deep River Snacks - all of their chips are certified gluten-free, non-GMO (yay!), made in nut-free facilities, and vegetarian (many are also vegan). They also contain zero artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. All good stuff, people.
Deep River Snacks no-compromise promise is: “If we wouldn’t feed it to our family, we wouldn’t expect you to feed it to yours.” Love this! I am all about snacks that are not only great-tasting, but that I can feel confident feeding to my own family. It’s so important that I have quick, accessible snacks that can be grabbed in a pinch. And because their kettle chips are made from just potatoes, sunflower oil, and sea salt (that’s it!), I don’t have to worry about an extensive list of crazy ingredients.
I believe that you shouldn’t have to give up great-tasting snacks when adopting a healthier lifestyle, and neither does Deep River Snacks. You can find Deep River Snacks Kettle Chips nationwide. Visit their website here for their store locator or visit Amazon.com.
Brands like Deep River Snacks and organizations like the CCFA do so much for our community, and I am so happy to be a volunteer for a cause that is impacting the lives of IBD sufferers in such a positive way. This April, I’m encouraging all of you to get involved with a charitable organization that resonates with you. Whether it’s something health-related, a local community cause, or volunteering at an animal shelter (or becoming a therapy dog team!), we all have talents we can contribute to making the world a better place, one step at a time. If you need help choosing a cause for National Volunteer Month, Deep River Snacks has a quiz to help find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you!
One of my favorite quotes is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Ghandi. It might take a lot of volunteers, but the change won’t be made without YOU. You never know how many lives your contributions will touch!
Here's your chance to win a 6-month supply of chips from Deep River Snacks!!!
To enter: Just leave a comment on this blog post about your favorite way to volunteer. I'll randomly pick a winner next week. Good luck!