SHiFT for Crohn’s. . Jessica’s Story

On November 5th, we are going to SHiFT for Good, we are going to pedal to raise awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis, and we are going to do it together ! Finding connections and camaraderie, we ride for all of those afflicted. We ride for our very own SHiFTers.

Take a cycle or Balance class, and chances are you will see strong and sunny Jessica Paul. Super fit with a smile on her face, Jessica exemplifies the SHiFT spirit. And she does so as a person living with Crohn’s Disease.

Jess grew up in Branford and is a proud Shoreline girl. When she isn’t SHiFTing she is working hard for the prestigious California winery O’Neill Vintners & Distillers or high tailing it up to Boston to play with her beloved nephew Harry!

Like many good things in life, SHiFT was an unexpected surprise for Jessica. Looking to try a different workout, Jessica stumbled upon SHiFT cycling during our grand opening promotions.

“It was love at first ride, I was hooked” says SHiFT devotee Jessica! She was looking for a class, but what she found was a group of friends, a new family, and her “happy place”. Jessica tells us “no matter what is happening in life–I can step inside and leave everything at the door”

We all have a story when we walk in to the studio, different reasons to seek solace in our strength. For Jessica, having Crohn’s Disease was a defining hardship, but also lead to one of the most profound SHiFTs in her life. 

“Crohn’s Disease, like many autoimmune conditions is invisible to most around you. You don’t look like your in pain, so people assume as much. This is why we need to have compassion in our daily lives. You never know what someone is going through based on a quick judgment. After some very trying years, I had exhausted all of my treatment/medicine options. Here I was at the end of the rope, nothing was keeping me out of the hospital.”

Jessica persevered and pushed through trepidation. She finally decided to move forward with surgery. After years of becoming increasingly ill, she finally said, “YES to getting surgery that I feared greatly, but would turn into such a gift”.

A gift is exactly what Jessica is to our community. Her journey reminds us to take stock of who we are and how we are valued. Jessica attributes endurance in turbulent times to building up courage and confidence. In a self declared “roller coaster of a year”, Jessica now knows “It all starts with you, and you have believe in yourself”

Jessica’s surgery was a success, but her determination to find a cure  is what makes her a true SHiFT champion. “If we can help others with these painful chronic illnesses, then we are moving forward”

We are proud to move forward with Jessica and the whole SHiFT team with two 45 minute rides, 12pm and 1:15pm on November 5th. We SHiFT for Jesse, for Crohn’s and Colitis. We SHiFT for good! How about you?

           Written by Blogger Emily Webster