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Grover Beach man looks to beat bowel disease as community steps up to help

Posted at 4:25 AM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 07:25:36-04

The symptoms started during his honeymoon 15 years ago.

Levi Hensley lives in Grover Beach with his wife and daughter Ella. He is one of millions in the U.S. living with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that has doesn’t have an exact known cause.

Levi with his daughter Ella. (KSBY Photo)

The symptoms became so severe — frequent trips to the bathroom, stomach cramps, bouts of internal bleeding, and anemia — Hensley wouldn’t be able to leave the house

“I’ve tried everything, traditional medicine, medications, holistic, and pretty much everything in between,” Hensley said. “Some of the treatments would help for a little bit but nothing would give us complete remission.”

But Hensley and his family have hope in another treatment option available in Mexico. Fecal microbiota transplantation has shown effectiveness for those with ulcerative colitis.

Financially, it is a steep price for a two-week treatment. The community is stepping up with a barbecue fundraiser on Saturday, July 27.

With the help from the Pismo Beach Firefighters Association and California Fresh Market, the fundraiser will be held at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the California Fresh Market in Pismo Beach.

The treatment has a 25 percent chance of putting Henlsey in remission. He’s hopeful it will work.

“It’s kind of hard to imagine but it’s basically a new start,” Hensley said. “I’m able to get out more, won’t be home bound. I’ll have my health back, my vitality back, and just be able to get into the community that’s been so supportive so far and get to do things with my friends and family.”

You can purchase $10 tickets here or the day of the event. The GoFundMe page for Hensley has raised over $7,000.