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Tampa Bay area woman uses personal wellness journey to help disenfranchised Black community

The Stephanie A. Wynn Foundation works to "remove healthcare and financial disparities" impacting African Americans, specifically those diagnosed with IBD.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Wellness is a journey, and a Tampa Bay Area woman wants to bring people along with her. Giving back, after nearly losing herself is how Stephanie A. Wynn educates and inspires.

“Sometimes, it’s ok to cry,” Wynn said. “I learned I had resilience when I lost my daughter.”

That was in 2010. Then again, another loss, a year later.

“Planning a funeral for a child and then you have to be strong for the other two children that are depending on you,” Wynn said.

By 2017, doctors could no longer overlook what Wynn felt, or what they saw.

“[In] 2017, I started getting ill. I started getting sick, I’m tired. I can’t keep nothing down,” Wynn said. “I started getting lightheaded, I got chills. I started getting these lumps under my arms, and I have bleeding when I go to the bathroom.” 

Doctors ordered a colonoscopy. Wynn said her awful symptoms grew unbearable.

“I was already going to the bathroom like 10 times a day,” Wynn said. “Everything was going through me. I was malnourished.”

Pounds were falling off her frame. Specialists said it was something called Crohn’s Colitis. Wynn had never heard of it. It’s a form of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

There were expensive prescriptions. It was a lot to handle and Wynn was laid off. Even so, she kept up with vision boards and slogans. She journaled and eventually wrote a book for people folks suffering like her. All while she and her circle made calls and found resources. Piecemealing costs for care.

“But think about the patients that don’t have the drive that I do, the resilience,” Wynn said. “They’re overwhelmed, they’re worn down.”

Her sickness, her story, is leading to strangers' wellness through the Stephanie A. Wynn Foundation. The nonprofit's mission is to "remove healthcare and financial disparities faced by underserved African Americans who are diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) specifically Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease," according to its website

Stephanie is working with Moffitt Cancer Center for an event. The IBD Health and Wellness Symposium is on March 25. The event is free and begins at 9 a.m. at the Karol Hotel in Clearwater. You can register for the event here

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