A Craving For Life

Jonathan Caron is a man with a dream. He is a professional triathlete with a fierce determination. And, he is a man with a true understanding of the devastating impacts of living digestive disease. Jonathan Caron has lived with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis for over 20 years.

Jonathan's dream is to someday be the first to cross the line at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Once you read his story of courage and determination, we think you'll join the list of people who are looking forward to seeing Jonathan's dream come true. 

When Jonathan turned 12, he went from being a very healthy, active kid with lots of energy to a young man who was very sick. His body was in turmoil and he didn't know why. 

"Sometimes," he says, "the pain was so bad that I would curl into a little ball and wait for it to pass. On very bad days, I could not be more than a few steps from the bathroom. I would be in there every 20 minutes." 

The challenges were not only physical. "I became afraid to leave home. I lost contact with most of my friends. My teachers didn't understand. The doctors did not help. And, like many other kids who find themselves living with a digestive disease, I thought I was the only one suffering and I slowly began to cut my link with the real world." 

Over the next few years, Jonathan decided he want to do more than merely survive. Through painful experimentation, he learned what he could and couldn't eat, what activities he could and couldn't do, what medications helped, and how much sleep he needed to feel good. 

His seventeenth years brought more series illness and another series of tests to determine that Jonathan had Ulcerative Colitis. Jonathan's doctor said he should listen to his body and choose non-physical activities that would be easy for him. He said Jonathan should learn to live this way. "It was tough to accept," says Jonathan, "that I would be like this for the rest of my life." 

At about the same time, Jonathan saw the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii on television. He decided then and there that he wanted to swim 2.4 miles, ride for 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles. Jonathan confidently states that he wanted to take on the challenge and regain confidence and control of his life. "I decided that suffering from IBS would not hold me back, or keep m from having a normal life." 

In the last 10 years, Jonathan has taken part in the World Cup Triathlon Circuit, become the Canadian National Long Course Triathlon Champion, come in second at the Ironman Canada competition and stood on the starting line at the most prestigious Ironman event in the world -- not once, but twice! 

Jonathan hopes to one day be the Ironman World Champion. Until that day, says he will continue to work hard and surround himself with people who believe in him. "It's important to be open to a challenge," offers Jonathan, "because if you have the right state of mind, your body will overcome the challenges of competition and illness. Living with Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis has made me a stronger, more determined person - nothing can stop me!" 

You can learn more about Jonathan at www.jonathancaron.com.

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health