A Personal Victory for Samantha Schlottman


Photo Credit: Isabella Ragaini

On October 1, Samantha Schlottman hosted ‘Crohn’s Night’ during a home volleyball game versus Amity. Sam, the captain of the girls volleyball team and a Crohn’s disease fighter, raised awareness for the illness and fundraised for the CCFA - Crohns and Colitis Foundation - in hopes that one day a cure will be found!


Defined as an inflammatory bowel condition, Crohn's disease affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract - a muscular tube that begins at the mouth and travels through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum and anus - and causes chronic inflammation of the intestines. This inflammation causes symptoms such as difficulties in absorbing nutrients, mouth sores, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and extreme fatigue. Although it affects almost 3 million Americans, Crohn's disease has no cure. Sam was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age thirteen after her family and doctor noticed a change in physical appearance and character. “I was rapidly losing weight … I wasn't able to play sports anymore. I was on the Cheerleading team, and softball team and one day I wasn't able to go out on the football field and cheer because I had so much anxiety… I wasn't able to speak in froWith no set treatment, Sam would go through years of trials and errors for medications; even suffering an allergic reaction during one such treatment. However, now she is on specific medications and has felt overwhelming support on her journey back to stability. Sam, being personally affected by this disease, decided that for her capstone, she would raise awareness for the illness through a volleyball game. After receiving approval from the athletic director, Anthony Verderame, and Craig Brown, the East Haven girls volleyball team coach, Sam contacted the CCFA - Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This organization was founded in 1967 with the “mission to cure Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.” Dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn's disease, Sam set up a fundraising page on the CCFA’s website where donations could be placed before and after Crohn’s Night.nt of a crowd,” Sam said. Unknown to her family and herself, Samshe was suffering from Crohn's disease. “Treatment for Crohn's disease is aimed at controlling inflammation, preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and relieving symptoms.” However, there is no set treatment; everyone has a personalized treatment that works best for them.


With no set treatment, Sam would go through years of trials and errors for medications; even suffering an allergic reaction during one such treatment. However, now she is on specific medications and has felt overwhelming support on her journey back to stability. Sam, being personally affected by this disease, decided that for her capstone, she would raise awareness for the illness through a volleyball game. After receiving approval from the athletic director, Anthony Verderame, and Craig Brown, the East Haven girls volleyball team coach, Sam contacted the CCFA - Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. This organization was founded in 1967 with the “mission to cure Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.” Dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn's disease, Sam set up a fundraising page on the CCFA’s website where donations could be placed before and after Crohn’s Night.


Sam promoted ‘Crohn’s Night’ on her Twitter and Instagram using flyers and even went the extra mile to create t-shirts and bracelets to be sold, and ribbons for the girls on her volleyball team to wear during the game; all proceeds for purchased items went to the CCFA. Sam said, “I did everything on my own. I made bracelets online, I made the ribbons, and my family and I made all the posters.” Sam even made a speech about Crohn's disease before the game started to bring awareness to the disease and its lack of a cure. However, Sam had help from several friends, such as her teammate Isabella Ragaini.

Photo Credit: Mark Curcio

Isabella said, “I volunteered to stay after school with her and decorate the gym: setting up the streamers on the bleachers, hanging posters on the walls, tying balloons to chairs, and having a table set up to advertise the raffles and information about Crohn’s disease.” Sam's family showed support during the volleyball game by collecting donations and running a 50/50 raffle. The prize for the winner was a raffle basket that was also created with the help of several family members and friends, Sam was able to donate $992.36 to the CCFA, not including the proceeds collected from the ticket sales. Although the night is over, Sam is not stopping here. Sam says, “I started last year [with Take Steps] and want to continue to do it every year. I get a team together for ‘Take Steps,’ which is like a walk, and people raise money and walk for Crohn’s disease.” She will continue to raise awareness for Crohn's disease and fundraise for organizations who can help find a cure that will benefit her and others.


In wanting to raise awareness, Sam was eager and comfortable. Her mom, Kimberly Schlottman says, “I always told her that by letting others know it spreads awareness and in turn she will have more support. It was a very special night for her to share her story and the support she received was overwhelming.” In willing to put herself out there, Sam has not only helped fundraise for research but she has overcome her own battle. Sam says, “During my sophomore year on the volleyball team, I couldn't play because my anxiety was so bad because I was off and on medications but now I'm back to play.” Sam returned to playing regularly for her junior and senior years, even becoming the only senior captain. Sam was able to overcome debilitating effects from Crohn's disease and was able to raise awareness and money in the hope that a cure would be found; a personal victory for Sam!



1. Schlottman, Samatha. EHHS Volleyball Crohn’s Night Flyer. Oct. 2019.

2. Longstreth, George F., and David Zieve. "Inflammatory bowel disease." ADAM/Surgeries and Procedures, Truven Health Analytics, 2011. Gale Health and Wellness, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A270980541/HWRC?u=east55986&sid=HWRC&xid=7a474ce7. Accessed 17 Oct. 2019.

3. Thomas, Jen. “Crohn's Disease: Facts, Statistics, and You.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Sept. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/facts-statistics-infographic#1.

4. Schlottman, Kimberly.

5. “What is Crohn’s Disease?” Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/.

6. “What is Crohn’s Disease?” Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/.

7. Davidson, Tish, et al. "Crohn’s disease." The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, edited by Jacqueline L. Longe, 5th ed., Gale, 2015. Gale Health and Wellness, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/OLYMPI536063171/HWRC?u=east55986&sid=HWRC&xid=3a8f3e19. Accessed 17 Oct. 2019.

8. “Our Mission and Core Values” Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/.



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