Boy raises money to give young Crohn’s sufferers a less painful option
'Living with Crohn's sucks, but being able to help others with it would be awesome,' Cohen Martyniuk says.
Every six months, Cohen Martyniuk braces himself for a three-day ritual of pain that comes before he gets a colonoscopy to check on his Crohn’s disease.
“I have to stay home, because what they do is give you a laxative and you basically go to the washroom and you sit there all day, and it’s painful,” the 14-year-old says.
He recently learned there is a new, less invasive way to get checked, but the intestinal ultrasound machine needed to do it could cost up to $80,000 and no one had agreed to fund it — until friends, families and an entire school stepped up to help pay for it.
“We didn’t know that was even an option or it existed until our doctor went away, learned about, got trained on it, came back with information for it and we thought, ‘When are we getting this?’ ” said Cohen’s dad, Brad Martyniuk.
However, the cost of the machine is as much as $80,000 and there was no funding for it at the Children’s Hospital.
“It just seemed frustrating that a machine that really wasn’t that much money was so close within our reach. Our doctor was trained to use it, but we weren’t able to have it here,” said Nadine Martyniuk, Cohen’s mom.
They started raising money for the machine in June. Friends and family came up with $30,000.
Then the Maroon and White Society at St. Paul’s High School, a student-led philanthropic group, decided to pitch in.
“His story was so moving and it was a unanimous decision to support Cohen’s cause,” Maroon and White Society president Chris George said.
The group launched a series of fundraisers, including hot dog lunches, floor hockey games and a casual dress for Cohen day (St. Paul’s students wear uniforms). They were a big hit at the private high school, and alumni who heard about the cause also sent in private donations.
By Friday, the students had hit their goal of raising $30,000, and the total continues to climb.
All the fundraisers have added up to enough to cover the cost of the machine.
“I’ve just been so overwhelmed with this whole process. As a mom, and seeing all these people come together, it’s amazing,” said Nadine Martyniuk, who cried after seeing all the kids rally around her son.
“It’s been a long journey and this really gives purpose to this journey, and it’s pretty special to see all these kids wanting to help like this.”
“I think it’s going to help a lot of kids,” Cohen said.
Read full story here.