Rob Hill Story

Rob Hills Story

In 1994, Rob was a fit, healthy 23-year-old, an amateur runner and athlete. Until that time, he had never really been sick. He didn’t even have a regular doctor. When the illness started, it progressed rapidly. Daily . Sustained . The diagnosis was Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory condition of the . It got worse, and his weight plummeted from 185 to 105 pounds. After a year and a half, it became clear that his , his colon, needed to be removed.

Not long after surgery, Rob started getting active again, running and eventually competing. In his lowest moment, he had not been able to climb the stairs in his house so regaining his fitness became a very personal challenge. Recovering mentally would take longer.

When Rob was ill, he learned an aunt of his also had Crohn’s, a fact she had never shared, even with close family members. Through her experience, and his own, Rob realized how destructive the stigma surrounding and having an ostomy can be. How it can isolate you, keep you from reaching out and getting help. Rob decided he had to do something about it.

The campaign, which we call “No Guts Know Glory” grew from Rob’s love of sport, adventure and the outdoors. By taking it to the extreme, and on a global basis, Rob hopes to show people everywhere that having these diseases or having an ostomy, like Rob does, shouldn’t stop you from leading a full life. You may not be able to climb mountains, but there are so many other things you can do.

To further this goal, Rob started the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS), from his home base in Vancouver, British Columbia. Rob also approached , whose he wears, to sponsor his climbs, and became a member of the Great Comebacks™ family. This global program has allowed Rob to speak in many countries, alongside his climbs and through local patient and professional organizations.

While reaching the top of each mountain is a great accomplishment, with respect, Rob says removing the social stigma associated with these diseases and having an ostomy is a far more daunting task. A task which will require much more than his voice on its own, so Rob hopes you add yours in letting people know they are not alone. One of the young people Rob recently met said, “this isn’t really about climbing mountains, it’s about moving them.”

Rob will attempt his final 7 Summits climb in the spring of 2010–up the south route to the top of Mount Everest in Nepal–thanks to the generous support of Abbott Laboratories and ConvaTec.

If you’d like to contact Rob directly, please send an e-mail to rob @

About Robert Hill

I founded IDEAS Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society, from my home base in Vancouver, British Columbia. Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society IDEAS is established to raise public awareness of intestinal diseases in order to help remove the stigmas associated with these illnesses. The programs of IDEAS help children, youth and young adults learn to live full lives, find acceptance and gain confidence.

15 thoughts on “Rob Hills Story

  1. Hi Rob,
    Your story is certainly an inspiration.
    As a guy who has lived with Crohn’s for over 30 years, I certainly know how much of a challenge even a “normal” life can be. For those of us who want to be high performers it becomes even more difficult. The fact you’re using this to uplift and inspire others is fantastic. I will do what I can to spread the word about your campaign.

    Jason David Reid

  2. What an inspiration you are, Rob. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for working so hard on raising awareness about IBD. My husband had his colon removed five years ago, and I want you to know how much I love his bag. It saved his life, and I will be eternally grateful. Keep up the great work, and let’s find a cure!! Brenda

  3. Hey Rob.
    I met you at Youth Rally. I stillll remember the speech you gave us. You are truly inpersational, and not a person I will forget anytime soon. Good luck with Everest. (:

  4. Hey Rob,
    I saw a link on FB about you conquering Everest! THat is Awesome! I have had Crohn’s since I was 12… Now I am 37. When diagnosed I was just 55 pounds. Then in my mid 20’s I had a bad 5 yr bout which ended in removing my colon & rectum. I now have an ileostomy. It has been a difficult transition because my bowel is so short! But, I finally was able to return to working out. It had been a real learning process for me. But I listen to my body! And, it hasn’t let me down for 8 years now! I was blessed with a daughter after my surgery which I believe would never have happened without the ostomy! I am 37, bench press more than I weigh, squat more and am healthier than most “normal” 20 year olds! I love heaing stories like yours! So, thought I would share a little of mine! Good Luck! I am gonna share a link to your site with a trainer that I follow. He loves inspirational stories! Check out his site when you get some free time. Love his workouts!!

    Leslie Kircher

  5. Dear Selena’s Daddy,
    We hope you get rid of that disease! Good luck! We’re thinking about you and we are very proud of you!
    Please come and visit us when you come back from climbing Mt. Everest! You can do it!
    Love your daughter Selena and her Grade One class

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