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Giving to Others Helps the Soul – Brian’s Story

Giving to Others helps the Soul

Since being diagnosed in 2002, Brian Crenshaw has undergone 11 surgeries and five cardio conversions. But you’d be hard-pressed to know he has Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA/Wegener’s). “God has blessed me in ways I can’t begin to understand,” says the Cincinnati, Ohio resident. “So while life is clearly not as easy as it once was, I feel strong and look forward to my future. I expect a full and satisfying life and I plan to do my part to make that happen.”

Crenshaw chooses not to focus on what he can’t do, but on what he can. “That doesn’t mean that some days you aren’t a little depressed from putting up with constant nagging sources of pain — I have peripheral neuropathy which isn’t the most pleasant thing to deal with. But for the most part I get along with life quite well.” He still hunts, for instance, and he’s achieved his dream of writing a children’s book.

“I woke up one summer Saturday morning thinking about how my wife, Marcy and I managed the topic of Santa Claus in our household and I felt God tugging at my heart to help other Christian families to learn our approach,” he explains. “I love Christmas and while I never wanted to lie to my children about anything I still wanted them to experience the enchantment of Santa Claus. As Marcy and I thought about how to handle this we realized that we had the power to define Santa Claus in our own terms and not the terms of the commercial world. So we did just that. We defined Santa as a person who loves Christmas, loves Jesus Christ, and wants children to always remember Jesus’ birthday.” The Christian Santa is available by clicking here for $18.69 plus tax, shipping and handling. A portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to the VF.

“Giving to others helps the soul and helping your soul helps you more than any medicines,” Crenshaw asserts. “People just have to find their niche in life, where they can help. It may be riding a bike or running a race to raise money for awareness or it might be writing a book. When you give to others, you actually give more to yourself than by any other selfish action you might take.”

Crenshaw is committed to living his life despite his diagnosis. Whether it’s helping others or continuing to do the things that are most important for himself, Crenshaw encourages vasculitis patients to aspire.

“If you don’t have dreams, you aren’t living for the future nor are you really living,” he says. “You have to learn to dream again after you are diagnosed. Your life will be so much better and then you can build a new life to accomplish your dreams.”

Published: November 2013

To read more stories, please visit the Vasculitis Stories landing page.