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Wishes come true for child with Crohn’s
Seven-year-old Drew “Doobee” Hansen, who has Crohn’s disease, rides her pony, Wishes, five times a week at Hunter’s Creek in Mattituck. It always brings a smile to the Southold girl’s face.
So it was only fitting that the Wild West Dance Party fundraiser on Friday for Doobee and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, held at the Soundview Restaurant in Greenport, had a Western theme.
“Doobee loves Wishes so much, we knew a Wild West theme would be perfect,” said Doobee’s mother, Martha Hansen, 36.
Doobee, a second-grader at Southold Elementary School, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory illness that affects the gastrointestinal tract, at age 4. She experiences constant pain in her stomach and joints. The disease has no known cure.
At Friday’s event, which drew a crowd of about 200 friends and family and raised $4,000, Doobee said she was “feeling good.”
“I like wearing my pink cowboy hat and pink and white cowboy boots,” she said.
The money raised will go toward Martha Hansen’s donation fee of $5,800 for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon on June 1.
“It’s overwhelming the support we get from family and friends,” said Martha Hansen. “I could never get through this without my family and friends.”
“I feel very lucky that we live in a community that helps us so much,” added Doobee’s father, John Hansen, 42.
Martha Hansen said the past year has been the most difficult in dealing with Doobee’s illness. In an effort to alleviate some of Doobee’s severe pain, her doctors decided to perform colon surgery last June, but the procedure was put off when they discovered damage to her small intestine.
Now the only way to control the pain is through medications and painful injections.
“The worst months were September, October and November,” said Martha Hansen. "At one point, she was in so much pain she wasn’t eating. She would eat half a bagel and that would be too much for her."
They say Doobee has been smiling more in recent months, ever since her cousin Brittany Hansen, 25, of Mattituck, introduced her to horses. Then, Doobee’s parents bought Wishes as a Christmas gift. She instantly fell in love.
Friday’s event brought more cherished moments, especially when Martha Hansen saw her daughter on the dance floor.
"It gives me so much purpose when I see Doobee completely happy," she said.