Much has changed in Rob Hill’s life since he became the first person with an ostomy to summit the highest peaks on seven continents, including Mount Everest. In doing so, he showed just how much a person with Crohn’s disease can achieve. Crohn’s is a chronic autoimmune condition that can affect any part of the digestive tract. It is, like ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The body essentially attacks itself, triggering intense inflammation that wears away digestive organs, particularly the intestine. There are treatments, but no known cure. Rob is still committed to reducing the stigma of Crohn’s and encouraging others with the condition to realize their capabilities, but his personal focus has shifted to a different kind of challenge. He spends much of his time at home in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his life now revolving around his family his wife, Monica, 5-year-old daughter Eden, and 3-year-old son Liam.
While a cause for Crohn’s disease remains unknown, research shows that it tends to cluster in families—suggesting genetics plays a role. Those with a parent or sibling with Crohn’s disease have a 20 percent greater chance of developing the disease—a concern Rob and Monica share as they raise their young and now healthy children.
After devoting 10 years to scaling mountains, Rob had a big adjustment to make when he embraced his new life. But he knew that being the type of father he wanted to be meant putting his family first. Now his full time job is selling ostomy products for ConvaTec, a medical device and technology company and a firm that sponsored him on his 7Summits Campaign. Not only does Rob use the company’s products, but he also has served as its spokesman. It’s been a good fit, although he admits he still feels more comfortable throwing on climbing gear than putting on a coat and tie.
Read Nore At: Living with Crohn’s Disease Rob Hill