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Digestive Health

Q&A with Larry Nance Jr.

NBA star Larry Nance Jr opens up about his journey with Crohn’s disease in this exclusive Q&A session.

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Larry, can you share with us when you were first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and what led to your diagnosis?

I was just sick, skinny and had zero energy for all of the activities I loved. Then I developed major stomach pains as more time went on.

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Can you describe some of the specific dietary and lifestyle changes you’ve made to manage your Crohn’s disease while maintaining peak athletic performance?

For me, I cannot have any nuts or seeds, as well as popcorn or fast food just for my Chron’s. As for my career, I stay away from all of that, as well as any foods that cause inflammation in the body.

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Can you share some of the strategies and coping mechanisms you’ve developed to deal with the emotional and mental aspects of living with Chron’s disease – especially in the high-pressure environment of professional sports?

I try to use my Crohn’s as a badge of honour for the road I’ve travelled to get here. A lot of guys face adversities, but for me, this has paved my road with struggles that have made me stronger.

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How important is it for you to raise awareness about Crohn’s disease and advocate for those who also live with the condition? What initiatives or projects are you involved in to support the Crohn’s community?

I was fortunate enough to be fortunate growing up! I had access to things others didn’t, so I try to give as many people access to what I had. With my foundation, we provide experiences, meet and greets, advice, mentoring and community for young people with IBD, as well as funding further research into a cure.

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What advice would you give to young athletes or individuals who aspire to pursue their dreams despite living with a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease?

My advice is to always make your disease work around YOUR dreams, not the other way around. The goal is to THRIVE not just survive.

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Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations, both in your basketball career and your advocacy work for Crohn’s disease awareness?

I think both are pretty large goals, I would love to help find a cure for IBD one day of course. And as far as my basketball career, I want to win a championship before I’m done.

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