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Pushing through the pain of Crohn's Disease

Posted at 11:25 PM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 23:26:41-05

One is every 200 people are living with Crohn's Disease meaning roughly 5,000 Western New Yorkers have the disease. 

Nick Antonelli of Grand Island is an inspiration to those living with Crohn's. He spends up to two hours a day at the gym and competes in body building physique competitions. 

"I think the biggest thing is make you goals, get them in motion and once you achieve your goals just keep setting new ones," Antonelli said.

For the past eleven years, Antonelli has been living with a severe case of Crohn's Disease. He has had just under 20 surgeries. 

"Some of the battles that he's had you would think would completely prevent him from this sport," Ron Primerano, Antonelli's trainer, said. 

Antonelli has won a few physique competitions and his trainer is working with him to reach a the title Mr. buffalo in march of 2019. 

Crohn's is an autoimmune disease which affects the digestive tract which then affects the entire body. Crohn's causes stomach pain and frequent visits to the bathroom. There's no cure, but similar to cancer, the body can go into remission. 

"Right now I'm actually in remission for the first time in my life," Antonelli said. "So it's probably the first time in so long that I can actually live and do what I want."

Antonelli has a severe case where he has an ileostomy, which means doctors removed most of his large intestine and mostly all the diseased portion of his small intestine. It hasn't held him back from competing. 

"I never thought like oh I cant do that... it was like I'm going to do that. I'm doing it," he said.

"I'm thrilled that he found something that he is passionate about because all the years  when he was little and wanted to play sports and wanted to be a professional athlete," Toni Marie Amantia, Antonelli's mother, said. "I always felt like it was taken from him."

Antonelli's family has owned Adrian's Custard adn Beef on Grand Island for eleven years now. For the last five year, on the third Monday of July, the shop holds a Crohn's fundraiser donating the profits to the Crohn's Colitis Foundation of American Western New York. 

In 2016, they raised over $5,200. 

"I want more of the young kids to look up to because I was like 12 and I didn't have any one," Antonelli said.