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Palm Beach Gardens teen raising awareness, money to find cure for debilitating disease

Posted at 2:09 PM, Nov 01, 2019

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach Gardens teen is determined to help find a cure for a life-changing and debilitating disease.

From the outside, 15-year-old Hayden Deese is your typical teenager.

"He actually got his learner's permit last Friday," said Hayden's mother, Heather Deese.

Hayden loves sports and video games, and his mom said he’s also a star student.

"He maintains straight A's in school. He’s an excellent student, he’s always been in the honors program," said Heather. "So proud."

Heather’s pride for Hayden mainly comes from what he’s battled on the inside.

"It was shocking, it was difficult. You never want to think that your child is going to be diagnosed with a chronic disease," said Heather.

At just 4 years old, Hayden was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis.

"There’s a gamut of meds, and you just go through them and every one failed," said Heather.

Then, when Hayden turned 10, his family made a big decision. Hayden became one of the youngest people to have his colon completely removed.

Hayden's story caught the attention of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

This weekend, Hayden will be honored as a hero at the Take Steps Walk in West Palm Beach. Hayden and his family will share his story at the event in hopes of raising money for a cure.

"So they don’t have to go through what I went through," said Hayden.

"He is a shining example of what a young person can be with colitis," said Anna Wishneff with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation.

Saturday Hayden and his family will share his story in hopes of raising money for a cure.

WPTV Meteorologist Glenn Glazer will emcee the Take Steps Walk. Here are the details:

  • Take Steps Walk
  • Saturday, Nov. 2
  • FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches (5444 Haverhill Road, West Palm Beach)
  • 10:00 a.m.: Check-In and Festival Start
  • 11:00 a.m.: Walk Start

For more information about the Take Steps Walk, click here.