At the age of 20, Farmer was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Also known as UC, the disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that plagues the sufferer with chronic diarrhea mixed with blood, weight loss, and fatigue. The disease causes ulcers in the colon, but is intermittent with flares and periods that can be symptom free. Ulcerative colitis affects 35-100 people for every 100,000 in the United States, or less than 0.1% of the population. Often times, however, the disease can go undiagnosed because of the embarrassments of admitting symptoms. Largely, the disease affects people between fifteen and thirty years of age. Farmer is trying to raise awareness of the disease with his climb.
Just before being diagnosed, Farmer had won an NCAA Conference Championship in Tennis. He was soon hospitalized, though, and had to quit collegiate sports. Nonetheless, Farmer was elected Student Body President at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He went on the work for the United States Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. After starting a small business, Farmer then began a foundation to help provide scholarships to underprivileged high school students hoping to go to college. Once he graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a Bachelors in Political Science, he went to Phoenix Law School. While in Arizona, Farmer wrote legislation and worked with the San Carlos Apache Nation. From his experience, Farmer then began the non-profit organization Live Beyond Boundaries to raise awareness and encourage those with the disease to follow their dreams.
Live Beyond Boundaries’ first project is to produce a documentary that follows Farmer through a typical day and chronicles what a person living with ulcerative colitis goes through. The foundation will then produce another documentary to follow Farmer on his climb. Now 24, Farmer is poised to become the youngest climber of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He is going to participate in the KiliMan Adventure Challenge, running February 19th through the 27th in Tanzania, Africa, which consists of a summit of the 19,340 foot mountain, biking 150 miles around the base, and running a marathon of 26.2 miles.
Farmer hopes that this feat and his documentary will raise awareness for ulcerative colitis, but more importantly will show others with the disease that they too can accomplish anything.
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