AUSTIN (KXAN) — Crohn’s Disease is a deadly digestive disease that affects an estimated 3 million Americans.
Although there is no known cure, treatment or surgery can stop symptoms.
In Austin, one Crohn’s Disease survivor has completely flipped the script on his life.
Following a successful surgery in 2021, Jeffrey Campbell has competed in 15 endurance races.
Yet, things were quickly taking a turn for the worse late last year.
“I became extremely fatigued, started losing weight and lost over 40 pounds in a month,” Campbell said. “Just looked and felt frail.”
As his health deteriorated, he turned to Dr. Brant Victor with Austin Surgeons for help.
“His disease was so severe that we had to embark on a small open procedure to complete the surgery,” Dr. Victor said.
The only option was removing part of his intestines in order to allow him to properly process food.
“We resected the segment of bowel and put the other two ends back together, it’s kind of like plumbing,” Dr. Victor said. “You take out the bad section of pipe and put the two ends together.”
After recovering from the surgery, Campbell completely flipped the script with his lifestyle.
“It gave me a new lease on life,” he said. “You know I had energy, and I wanted to use it.”
The 52-year-old discovered a newfound passion for exercise and training, completing his first triathlon just five months after surgery.
“Really fell in love with the training for triathlons,” Campbell said. “The swim, bike and run.”
This September, he completed five races in just 17 days.
He hopes to help others realize they can get stronger and healthier, no matter their age or condition.
“You can live a strong healthy life, even though you have a disease that doesn’t allow your body to perform well all the time,” Campbell concluded.
He’s currently training for his first Half Ironman — the Ironman 70.3 in Galveston — next year on his 53rd birthday.
Campbell has also inspired his wife and 30 of his coworkers to start running 5k’s all around Austin. On Sunday, he’ll race in Run For The Water in downtown Austin.
As an inspiration for others suffering from the deadly digestive disease, Campbell is also raising funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.