Chapel Hill boy a role model for Crohn’s disease, Lukas Stone is a third grader at Durham Academy. He’s in Cub Scouts, practices the martial art ninjutsu, enjoys playing Legos with his friends, and is a big brother to his little sister.
For the past year he has also been fighting Crohn’s disease, an incurable autoimmune disease. He was diagnosed in November 2012 at the age of 8.
Lukas receives care at the UNC Pediatric Gastroenterology Clinic. Dr. Ajay Gulati, a pediatric gastroenterologist, has been studying Crohn’s disease and working with patients for the past 10 years.
Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive system and affects about 500,000 people in the United States. At least 5 percent of those patients are children.
“Because it can cause damage anywhere along the intestinal tract, children are particularly susceptible to problems with growth and development,” Gulati said. “It’s also very tough for kids to manage symptoms like belly pain and diarrhea from a social standpoint.
“This demonstrates how amazing a patient Lukas is,” Gulati continued. “He has never let his disease slow him down, even while being on difficult therapies like a strict formula diet that allows no solid foods. He’s a role model for other kids with Crohn’s disease.”