ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s a condition that affects nearly one in every 62 people. Today the community of Altoona stepped out to raise awareness of Gastroparesis.
Sunday a walk was held in the memory of a 22-year old Altoona woman who battled the disease for years and passed away from pancreatic cancer just last month.
“I think that we learned that from Elia that you just keep going because that's what life is all about. Just one foot in front of the other,” Bobbie Kuchta said.
Putting one foot in front of another carried an extra special meaning during a walk held at the Altoona School District Sunday.
“It’s important to always teach,” Edna Borrero said.
Borrero says her daughter Elia had dreams of becoming a college professor but a condition known as gastroparesis put that dream on hold.
“It was pretty scary, we were in California and we started searching online,” Borrero said. “Basically her stomach completely closed. Gastroparesis is a diagnosis of the mobility of the organs in the GI tract and it causes the stomach to not empty properly.”
Its estimated around five million Americans are living with gastroparesis and thousands more are undiagnosed and that's why the family says it’s so important to get the word out about the condition.
“There is help out there but there is no cure,” Borrero added.
During her battle with gastroparesis Elia started a walk to raise awareness, and after the family lost her to pancreatic cancer just last month they wanted to keep one of her last wishes alive.
“We will just keep trying to create awareness,” Borrero said.
“Also to be able to raise that awareness so if somebody else realized that they are having some symptoms they can be treated sooner,” Shelly Pierson added.
Before she died, Elia set up a support group page for people living with gastroparesis on Facebook, we have a link to that site below.