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New Year's Eve Party to benefit Crohn's research

A group of West Fargo graduates, representing the years 1995 to 1998, are rallying around the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and they want you to be a part of it by attending the special New Year's Eve party they are hosting.

The event will take place at the West Fargo Speedway Event Center, 680 West Main Ave. on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., with a full slate of fun activities planned. Appetizers will be served from 7 to 9 p.m.; drink specials will be available all night long; the live band "Krome" will play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and a variety of prizes will be raffled off all evening long. Among the raffle items are VIP Sioux hockey tickets, tanning packages from Suntana, a vacuum cleaner from Blow's, a year's supply of dog food, and many, many more.

Organizers of the party are 'best friends who grew up together' - Joel Finn, Paul Finn, Jake Lauritsen, Brian Quam, Dewey Vinsett, Mike Migler, Jake Reese and Mitch Finn.

  Mitch has a very special reason for being a part of the effort. His wife, Chrissy, has struggled with Crohn's since 1999.

"We were just going to throw a party, but figured we would put a live band, raffle, and appetizers together and charge a cover, with all of the proceeds going to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)," Mitch said.

Crohn's and a related disease, ulcerative colitis, are the two main disease categories that belong to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's affects the entire gastrointestinal tract from the mouth through the bowels, while colitis is limited to the lining of the colon. Both are chronic conditions that can be controlled with treatment, but not cured. Most people who have Crohn's disease lead full and productive lives.

There are five different types of Crohn's with symptoms including loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, cramping and diarrhea, etc.

Up to 1.4 million Americans have either Crohn's disease or colitis, with about 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Most diagnosed are young, between the ages of 15 and 35; however it can occur in all age levels, male and female alike. There is no apparent cause for the disease, but the top three suspects are: genes, an inappropriate reaction by the immune system, or something different in the environment.

As a means of supporting the cause, for all those afflicted by Crohn's and Colitis, Chrissy works actively with the CCFA headquartered in Minneapolis, coordinating benefits so research can continue. The funds raised at the New Year's Eve party will go directly to the Foundation to be used in those research efforts. "This is a good thing, because we know where the proceeds will be going, and the party will also create awareness of the disease."

Chrissy, herself, is all too aware of the intricacies of the disease. "It's affected every part of my life since being diagnosed," she said. Her case is severe in nature and has been very hard to control, resulting in several surgeries, with ultimately ten inches of her intestine removed. She has spent every holiday for the last two years in a hospital.

Right now she is treating it with two very strong medications trying to stabilize the disease and bring it under control. An employee of Suntana in Osgood, Chrissy said this is the first job she has been able to work full-time since being diagnosed, describing that, in itself, as progress. In addition, she is a full-time mom to Will, 5, and Emilia, 2. She said her pregnancy with Will 'went great' until after he was born and Emilia was a 'tough' pregnancy due to the Crohn's.

Ticket cost for this New Year's Eve evening of fun is $15 per person. Tickets are available by calling 298-7099 or emailing or accessing

Anyone wishing more information about the local Crohn's and Colitis support group is welcome and encouraged to contact Chrissy at