Connecticut Children’s receives $14-million grant for Crohn’s disease study

Connecticut Children's gets funding for Crohn's disease study
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 7:21 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut Children’s has received the largest grant in its history.

Fourteen-million dollars is on its way to help fund a study about Crohn’s disease.

The money could be life-changing for kids.

For a patient who loves basketball, 9-year-old Ryder Richardson had been sidelined by pain, feeling too weak to play.

“As a dad, I can’t tell you how helpless it feels watching someone you love so much suffer like he has,” said Greer Richardson, Ryder’s father. “He couldn’t even make a layout. He couldn’t even get the ball there.”

Ryder was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 8.

“It’s a bowel disease that doesn’t make you feel good sometimes at all,” Ryder said.

“Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal system,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hyams from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Ryder now receives infusions at the Connecticut Children’s Infusion Center.

Doctors there will soon be taking a closer look at what medicines are working in kids and why.

The National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Hyams a $14-million grant to study treatments over the next 5 years.

“It’s beyond a big deal. Not only is it the largest grant that we’ve ever gotten at Connecticut Children’s. It’s actually the largest pediatric IBD grant that anyone has ever gotten,” Dr. Hyams said.

Dr. Hyams said they have seen an uptick in Crohn’s cases in children in recent years and patients are getting younger.

Doctors don’t know why.

That’s one of the things they hope to learn through the study.

For now, Ryder’s medicines seem to be working. He’s not only back to playing; he’s celebrating.

“His favorite NBA player is Ja Morant who does this dance called the ‘Gritty’, and Ryder went out of this hospital hitting the Gritty all the way to the car which was precious to see,” Richardson said.

In just a few years, more kids could be ‘gritty’ing back to the court.