by Kat Hill
My name is Kathy, but I go by Kat! My love for Jeeps started with my Dad’s Cherokee as a kid. I got my own Jeep in 2013 and quickly got involved with local clubs and made plans to make upgrades. Not long after I got my Jeep, I began to have a lot of health problems. For a year and a half, I was in and out of the emergency room. We couldn’t determine what was causing bleeding, excessive hair loss and inability to keep weight on and so on. In 2015 I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Due to my weakened state, medication complications, and continuous hospital stays I ended up dropping out of college and I quit working. With my new diagnosis I struggled to enjoy being offroad because of complications and overall feeling terrible. I was trying to find a new normal when it came to my everyday life. Eventually, I stopped taking my Jeep out all together until I could get in a healthier state.
While in the hospital one night, scrolling through Pinterest passing the time I came across this quote: “If I continue to define myself by what I can’t do, or what normal people do, I will destroy myself.” At first, I honestly rolled my eyes and kept scrolling through because my overall mindset was lacking. However, I couldn’t get that quote out of my head so I searched for the quote again and read it a few times more. The more thought I gave this quote the more I wanted my outcome to change.
I decided to start creating a plan and not let a disease I never asked for dictate what I was capable of doing. I made a Facebook post asking who on my friends list that owned an offroad vehicle also had some sort of Illness or disability, visible or not. I was overwhelmed with how many responded to my post. Many of them said they either don’t offroad much and some stopped going all together. Reading all the various reasons as to why they minimize or cut out their time on the trail was hard to hear.
I decided then it was time to try and get back on the trails, I knew I'd have to make adjustments in order to keep up and to enjoy it again. Being on the road to events or out on the trail was a lot harder so I looked for ways to make my experience better. I couldn’t be the only one so I started thinking of a way I could help others in a similar position. That’s when I came up with Chronically Crawl'n. This was a way for me to show others in my position that you can still get out there, just have to do things a little differently. Since I started Chronically Crawl’n, I have been able to help sponsor a couple events for Jeepers in a similar position as me. We’ve also raised a few thousand for major foundations and charities within the medical and offroad community. Being able to raise money and awareness or even give someone inspiration to just get back out there is all I’ve wanted to accomplish with Chronically Crawl’n.
Since I started this new venture it was time to enhance my skills offroad and learn anything I could so I could be successful in this new chapter of my life. I went searching for a group or some sort of way to do just that. That’s when I found Ladies Offroad Network! In October 2017 I became an official member of Ladies Offroad Network. My self-confidence was super low due to my new limitations with having Crohn’s Disease and I was looking to change that anyway I could. Thankfully, I found exactly what I was needing. A network of ladies that were encouraging, helpful, and all the tools I needed to expand my knowledge offroad. Generally speaking, I’m pretty reserved however thanks to this network of ladies that’s starting to change. Truly grateful for the awesome ladies I’ve met through Ladies Offroad Network and the rad experiences! To have a space where you can ask questions and learn about recovery tools and how to use them properly, wrenching, and various other offroad related topics is essential.
The past several years definitely has been a wild ride so far but in a weird way I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not having Crohn’s Disease would be a plus but they say difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations! I’m happy to see how far I’ve come but can’t wait to see where I’m going. Always super excited to see where my adventure leads to next! Never been one to take chances until being diagnosed. Now I try to do new things as much as possible and explore more of life in the dirt! If you ever see me around, I love meeting new people so please say hi!
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas