Karen Shalev is an educator, creator, and dreamer. A lifelong “professional patient,” Karen understands firsthand the demands those living with IBD struggle with and dedicates herself to disability advocacy. During her undergraduate career, Karen earned recognition for her work through the Abbvie Immunology Scholarship and the Delta Alpha Pi Scholarship. Karen is currently completing her Master of Science in Communication.

How did you learn about Girls With Guts?

Living with Crohn’s Disease comes with ups and down. During one of the tougher times, I looked for ways to build community, find support, and connect with other women like me who knew what I was going through. I found Girls with Guts’s Love Your Guts Mail program through social media and signed myself up for some words of comfort and encouragement. Before I knew it, I had emails and letters pouring in from people just like me and I knew I was not alone. Soon after, I also signed up for an I Gotta Go card and an Infusion Kit, resources that helped significantly improve my standard of life.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Girls With Guts?

The resources and social media presence that Girls with Guts offers created a place for me where I knew everyone would understand me. When I went through a tough time transitioning to a new stage of life during a flare, I learned important life lessons and realized that I could help others who were struggling with similar issues. That inspired me to reach out to Girls with Guts to write my first blog article and I am incredibly excited to continue giving back to an organization that has given me so much.

When you are not volunteering with Girls With Guts what do you do with your time?

When not volunteering with Girls with Guts (and not balancing my medical needs), I am most often studying as I prepare to complete my Master of Science in Communication degree in 2023. My dog, Violet, is my favorite study buddy and keeps me motivated and going. I also love to read fantasy books, watch comedies, and listen to music of any genre – as long as it’s good!


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