Hi my name is Elie. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was twelve, which marked an influential time in my life. It can be hard to cope with the fact of being diagnosed and having a chronic illness. Even though my dad has Crohns too, I didn’t know everything about it. But I did see that regardless of his diagnosis, my dad followed his passions and was doing what he was meant to do. My doctor was very supportive and also encouraged me to not let the disease define me. I had to learn how to manage my new reality and get back to living my life. And that’s what I did. It wasn’t always easy, but it was possible. In time, I have learned many things about myself, and I have learned many positive lessons of self resilience and finding hope in tough situations that I look forward to sharing with kids similar to me. With my V’IBD Teens page and community, I hope to bring light into kids and teens’ lives and inspire them to live to the fullest.
My name is Serena. I was diagnosed at age 10 after quickly becoming severely ill during a family vacation. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at first. I thought I would just get some medicine and be done with it. My doctor and family really made sure that I had people to look up to and that I wasn’t alone. That I still had a normal life and kept up with friends, sports and everything else that I loved to do. Right now I have an ileostomy and at first it was hard just to love myself and my body. It took time to get used to it. A life lesson I learned was that It takes patience. It’s tough right now but everything is temporary. I say I’m normal and I’m happy now. Even though I have an ileostomy, I’m probably not as normal as other people but it makes me happy and I play basketball, I’m driving, I have friends and I don’t let Crohn’s run my life.
Hello, my name is Ani. When I was first diagnosed I felt very defeated. I was a girl going into High School and I felt alone and unsure of what the future would entail. My symptoms were really bad. It felt like they were holding me back from doing what I love; dancing and going to school. I was bed ridden for three months straight unable to do those things. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to dance again because I was so sick, I wasn’t eating and it was really hard on my body. But, I realized through time that I could do anything that I wanted to keep doing whether that’s dance or school or pursuing any goals of mine. I realized that Crohn’s is only a part of me and it wouldn’t define my goals and my life. So, I decided to look it in the face, take back those months that I missed, and get back to my life. I went from being in my bed for three months to dancing on the field at Rose Bowl. I hope I can touch other people like me who are struggling with IBD and help show them that having this disease should not limit you from achieving your goals.
Hi, my name is Ibrahim. Receiving a diagnosis for a lifelong condition was initially very overwhelming, however, this diagnosis provided me with a vocabulary to process my IBD and find others who could support me through this experience. Young adulthood allows us the chance to discover who we are and what we want to do with our lives but I initially felt that my choices were limited due to my disease. Seeing how much I was able to overcome as well as receiving support from peers in the IBD community encouraged me to not give up on my dream of becoming a clinician. I want to show other patients that we bring the resilience that we have developed as a result of this diagnosis to the rest of our lives and can surmount any challenge that comes our way.
My name’s Coco and I have ulcerative colitis. I was diagnosed in December of 2020 after spending nearly 3 weeks bed-ridden in the hospital. I had lost 30 pounds and spent Christmas in the hospital that year. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. But now, looking back on it, living with a chronic illness has not only given me maturity and courage, but it’s also gifted me with more strength than I ever thought I could have. Two years ago, I couldn’t even fathom getting better. It just seemed so out of reach. But now, thanks to the help of medical treatment, my friends and family, and most importantly, the amazing Dr. Rabizadeh, I’m here, back to living my normal life.
Last year, I attended IBD Strong’s V’IBD Benefit Concert to Fight Crohn’s & Colitis. For the first time since my diagnosis, I felt that I found a community with other teens fighting this debilitating disease to call my home. IBD Strong is so important to me and it has made a huge impact on my life. Ever since I was diagnosed with IBD, I had always felt lonely, like I was the only one in the world who struggled with this disease. Then, I became part of IBD Strong and that feeling of loneliness went away. Meeting other teens who also suffer with IBD and are living their lives felt like a breath of fresh air.
I joined IBD strong’s V’IBD Teens as an Ambassador and most recently Director of Youth Outreach because I want to be the person that scared, weak girl in the hospital needed. The person who the girl fighting to get in remission needed. The person the girl standing on stage at the VIBD benefit concert needs. I want to show people like me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that they will get better. I want to be there for them when they feel as if they’re fighting this battle alone.
If anyone out there out there is struggling with Crohn’s or colitis, feeling alone with this disease or just want someone to talk to that understands what they’re going through, please visit and ask to join our V’IBD Teens private FB page to connect, build community and for updates on the LiveStream to our upcoming V’IBD Benefit Concert to Fight Crohn’s & Colitis.
Can’t wait to meet you there!!
My name is Julia Philbrick and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of twelve. It was an extremely difficult time but ultimately taught me many valuable lessons that I look forward to sharing with others. Taking care of my mind and body has allowed me to live a high quality life playing beach and indoor volleyball as well as participating in my other passions. I look forward to the opportunity to help make a positive impact with someone’s else’s journey.
Asher is a teenager from Westchester, New York. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was eight years old. Following a family trip to Mexico, Asher came down with what seemed like a stomach bug. As a young kid, he didn’t think to tell his parents until several months later that the upset stomach never really went away. Meanwhile, he had not gained weight in over in a year. His doctor told him to try to eat more fats like butter and avocado. After watching Asher continue to get skinnier and skinnier, his parents grew increasingly concerned and started taking him to additional doctors. Finally, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It was scary to hear he had a “disease,” but it was also a relief to know why he hadn’t been feeling well. It took some time to find the right medicine for him, but slowly, he started to feel better. Still, gaining weight was extremely hard.
Finally, at age 13, Asher decided to take control. He began to study nutrition and exercise, learning from trial and error. Over the past couple of years, he has gained nearly fifty pounds, including a lot of muscle. He loves to spend time in the gym, finding that it helps clear his head and is as important for his mental health as it is for his physical health. He wants to share what he has learned with other teens and provide encouragement and support for others just getting started or looking to improve their fitness in any way.
Chloe is a junior in High School where she holds leadership roles in various student led organizations that promote discussion and volunteerism in medicine and charitable causes for children with chronic illness.
She also loves to spend her time reading, dancing or playing on her school’s soccer team.
Chloe has always had an affinity towards healthcare and healing. She was recently selected for, and participated in, a youth leadership program aimed at introducing young adults to the world of medicine. This is where her passions for healthcare and the medical field were confirmed.
Chloe has grown up with IBD in her family life. While Crohn’s disease has had a great impact on her family, Chloe has found ways to cope with and eventually thrive through its presence in her loved ones’ lives. Chloe is devoted to helping her peers who are also friends and/or family of persons with IBD do the same.
Zachary is a 14 year old musician and surfer from Malibu CA. He is a songwriter, guitarist and producer – he just released his first single, “Things I Do.”
Zachary was inspired to play guitar at age 6 after seeing live performances by the guitarists from Jackson Browne and the Foo Fighters.
At age ten, never having auditioned for anything before, he was recommended to audition for the lead role of guitar-player, Zack Mooneyham in School of Rock on Broadway. He sent in a video and a few months later, moved to NYC and starred in over 400 shows at the Winter Garden Theater. After moving back to California, he continued to play many live shows, sit in with incredible musicians and figured out that what he truly wanted was to play his original music. Zachary is beyond honored to participate in V’IBD and is dedicated to helping and supporting his friends and family who live with Crohn’s Disease.
Sacha Carlson is a professional actor and musician from San Luis Obispo, California. He lives breathes, and sleeps rock n’ roll and blues. He often jokes that he may end up marrying his guitar as she’s the only consistent woman in his life.
Sacha met Elie on the set of “A Christmas Story Live” and it was one of the best experiences of his life. It wasn’t just the actual job of being on set that he loved so much, but also his cast mates like Elie that made the experience truly special.
It was an amazing time and they’ve stayed buds ever since.
More recently Sacha is part of the Netflix show “Julie and the Phantoms” and is continuing his acting career.
He is constantly inspired by Elie’s guitar playing and his incredible acting. Sacha is excited to be part of the V’IBD Benefit Concert raising awareness for an amazing cause and to play some music for you fine folks.
The Shea Welsh Institute of Jazz empower talented and diverse youth to flourish through the study and performance of America’s original art form, Jazz.
Guitarist Shea Welsh brings his experience and expertise as a renowned international performing artist, producer, and educator to lead Los Angeles’ Westside destination to study jazz at tan elite level. It is open, by audition, to highly motivated and dedicated middle school and high school aged musicians interested in a small group intensive immersion experience in the study of jazz performance, theory, and repertoire.
The Institute participates in many local performances along with national and international concerts and competitions. Highlights include: Four Top Prizes in the Downbeat Student Music Awards (2019, 2020 and 2021), performances at The John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival, North Carolina (2019), and the Panama Jazz Festival (2020). For more info: SheaWelsh.com
The Shea Welsh Institute of Jazz is honored to participate in IBD Strong’s V’IBD Benefit Concert to Fight Crohn’s and Colitis in hopes to support and raise awareness and critical funds for research for children living with these conditions and to promote positivity and awareness.
IBD Strong’s V’IBD Benefit Concert is Shea Welsh Institute of Jazz performing band members:
Lia Tompkins Violin/voice
Youthanize is an 80’s/Classic Rock cover band. Although they are small in size, they are big in sound.
At the tender ages of 12-16, they play and perform like seasoned professionals. They have taken the stage at places such as House of Blues, Rainbow Bar and Grill, The Viper Room and DiPiazza’s to name a few.
Watching these musicians captivate their audience will leave you confident that rock music is still very much alive.
Youthanize are dedicated to rehearsing and mastering their craft by studying under some of the entertainment industry’s leading “it” guys. They are just getting started. Please follow along on this wild ride!
They are excited to perform for you at our V’IBD Benefit Concert to Fight Crohn’s and Colitis in support of children living with these conditions.
Eliza began her journey in the entertainment industry performing at various venues, from local coffee shops to Six Flags and House of Blues. Her big break came in TV/Film when she landed a lead role on Netflix’s Team Kaylie.
In the same year, Eliza was cast as a member of the a cappella group Acapop! KIDS, formed by the creators of Pentatonix. Acapop! KIDS performed live on The Kelly Clarkson Show and has released numerous covers on YouTube and all streaming platforms. Eliza is also a member of the Calabasas High School a cappella group, Unstrumental.
Other TV credits include Alexa & Katie (Netflix), Truth Be Told (Apple TV+), Puppy Place (Apple TV+) and Raven’s Home (Disney). She is no stranger to the big screen. Eliza played Zelda in the feature film Spinning Man alongside industry veterans Minnie Driver, Guy Pearce and Pierce Brosnan. She has also brought her talent to the voiceover and motion capture world as Sherry Birkin in the remake of the popular video game Resident Evil 2.
She is excited to perform for you at IBD Strong’s V’IBD Benefit Concerts to Fight Crohn’s & Colitis in support of children and young adults living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.