Thursday, July 28, 2011

#1 Tour for the Cure: Pebble By Pebble

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to move a pebble before you can move the mountain. When the lofty goal of IBD awareness and ultimately a cure is at stake, it can be daunting to even know how to start.

Of course, we have to start somewhere. I recently had the absolute pleasure of meeting Andrew Misle, a man who has started something so amazing and contagious in spirit that it is hard to translate my excitement into words. Andrew exemplifies virtually everything that I strive to be - passionate, dedicated, unstoppable, resourceful, resilient, purposeful, genuinely present in his life, and unfailingly charitable and compassionate. Andrew is not an incredible person because of his Crohn’s, rather, he is an incredible person who has used his experiences with IBD to demonstrate his indestructible spirit. After being misdiagnosed several times, Andrew was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 26. Having lived with Crohn’s for seven years, he became very ill in March of this year and found himself in the ER on the opposite side of the country from his native Edmonton. Knowing that he is the sole expert in his body, he refused to be sent home according to the first doctor’s advice and insisted on a CT scan. Lo and behold, he was right about his body and a surgeon came in and informed him that his bowel had perforated and he would be having surgery in the next hour. Having 60 minutes to spare between life before an ostomy and life afterwards, he phoned the people who needed to be told and thought about how his life would change.

But as I’ve already said, Andrew is unstoppable. The second week after his surgery, after fending off complications and tubes upon tubes, he was determined to take longer walks and meditate every morning, as per his yoga practice. Inspired by the stories he had been given about others with ostomies and IBD, Andrew decided that he too would be instrumental in raising awareness in his own way. And what better way than to travel across the country on a motorbike teaching yoga?

Answer: no better way. What I love and admire about Andrew’s story is that not only is he inspiring, but he is inspired, knowing that he can make a difference as exactly who he is, doing what he loves most. He has already begun his insanely incredible journey across the country, teaching yoga, IBD awareness, and inner strength to everyone. “Andy’s Yoga Tour For the Cure” will be coming your way, and if I were you, I’d like it on Facebook and have my yoga mat ready.

Andrew is going to make a difference for one main reason. He is passionate and is truly going to accomplish anything he sets his mind to. As an amateur yogi and an ostomate and IBDer myself, his journey and mission are so awe-inspiring that I honestly cannot find the words. To go from being on an OR table having an emergency surgery to a downward dog raising awareness in under three months is absolutely unbelievable and empowering. I am honored to have met him, and humbled to be able to support and cheer him on as his yoga tour for the cure continues.

You can’t move a mountain until you move a pebble, and you can’t move a mountain all by yourself. Instead, we must all take a pebble and move the mountain together. So here is what we are going to do: as the tour sweeps across North America this summer, we are going to follow his events and journey, share pictures, and even interview Andrew with questions that we as a Gutsy Generation come up with - so think some up and leave them as comments or email them to us at We’re going to share our megaphone so that his phenomenal story and mission can be shared and supported.

As Andrew puts it, the sun is a little brighter, food a little sweeter, and life a little grander when you’re surviving with IBD. To borrow one of Andrew’s favorite quotes, “Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” - Aldous Huxley.

Be excited: something amazing is happening right here and right now. Let’s go to the park and do yoga and raise awareness for the cure when the tour comes to our cities. Let’s raise our voices about IBD. Let’s find a cure. Let’s do something because we can.

Let’s move that mountain, one pebble at a time.


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