Morgan Check was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 16 years old, during the spring of her junior year at the Baldwin School. She was in the middle of a promising lacrosse season and was being recruited by several colleges. The diagnosis was devastating. Weight loss, anemia, complete depletion of energy stores, and constant runs to the bathroom made practice and games unbearable. Staying awake long enough to do homework at the end of the day and reading through blurry eyes due to medication side effects, made school even more difficult for her than the typical teenage girl.
Morgan’s family found a great amount of support in the CCFA, which helped to put the Checks in touch with the best doctors in the country. Ultimately, this is what made it possible for Morgan to fulfill her dream to go away to Davidson College and play Division I lacrosse, even if it meant flying home every month for Remicaide infusions.
Multiple summers during college and after, Morgan volunteered as a counselor at CCFA’s Camp Guts and Glory, now Camp Oasis. Working with children struggling with IBD ultimately led her back to school at the University of Pennsylvania for a second bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in nursing. Through her education, and personal experience, Morgan learned to care for these unique patients with much empathy, having been through similar struggles herself.
Remission for Morgan lasted 8 years. Her second flare up of ulcerative colitis left her with no choice but to undergo surgery. This was a painful procedure with multiple complications, a three-week stay in the Cleveland Clinic, two months with an ileostomy bag, and scars to remind her every day of this painful ordeal. She spent her days “celebrating” her graduation from nursing school in the hospital
Since her surgery, Morgan has been mostly healthy. She has a team of physicians in the Philadelphia area who have been supportive and an integral part of her success as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at St Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Morgan has found Dr. Lewis, in particular, to be immensely compassionate and helpful, as she continues to work to manage her health. Dr. Lewis is a committed researcher, clinician, and teacher, yet he always makes the well-being of his patients a priority. With Dr Lewis leading her care team, Morgan is able to fully dedicate herself to her role as a care provider in the field of Gastroenterology, specifically, IBD.