Bridge the Gap: Life with Crohn's

This is a before and after picture of my "other half," 41 year old Russell Whitfield.  Being only 5'2", Russell grew up a fighter, as you can imagine.  Attending eight different schools growing up, Russell learned to pick the biggest bully at school to fight in order to keep others from picking on him in the future.

Little did he know that he would have to carry this fighter mentality throughout many facets of his adult life.


My name is Krista and I have been Russell's significant other, his nurse and his partner for the past 13 years.  Russell was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 23.  Similar to most Crohn's patients, Russell found it very difficult to hold down a normal job.  Employers often found his inability to make it to work on time or being absent from work for one day to two weeks at a time very difficult to manage.

Over the years, Russell learned and mastered many trades from Electrical to Battery Back Up Systems to Cell Tower Rigging to Finish Trim Carpentry.  Working in all of these trades and many more, Russell always returned back to his passion for Woodworking. He built his first table when he was four years old gathering wood from the neighborhood and a bucket of nails.  Even though it was not quite square or level, he and his mother, who just recently passed away, were able to sit and eat lunch at his first creation.

For the past 10 years, Russell has been self-employed, building custom furniture for customers in the Atlanta area.  He began by building a porch swing for his ex-wife and son's home.  Seeing his obvious talent, I began posting his porch swings and exterior furniture for sale on a local classified website.

                                                                                 Example of his porch swings...

He was the first in Georgia to provide a turn key service of building, finishing, fabricating, delivering and installing interior sliding barn doors.
                                                                            Just one of many Barn Doors...

To check out more of his custom builds,  
                                    from Wet Bars....

                                                                                                                 to Aquarium Stands...

 please click Whitfield Woodworks Photos.  


About 12 years ago, Russell had his first surgery in which surgeons removed part of his intestine.   Since that operation, Russell has had no insurance.  First, because he had a pre-existing disease and then because it was just so expensive.   He managed his disease as best as he could by monitoring his diet.  However, Crohn's disease would rear its ugly head about once every three to four months causing infection and partial blockages.  For those of you who are not familiar with the disease, women who have Crohn's describe the flair-ups as worse than labor pains.

Russell finally has affordable insurance and underwent his second removal and resection surgery just two weeks ago on February 8th, 2018 at Emory University Hospital. 

The surgeons said that they removed a section of intestine that was almost "unrecognizable bowel."   They went on to say that Russell was, "so diseased, that his intestine had matted itself against Russell's back muscles" and that they had to remove hundreds of pockets of abscess all around his intestine.  After the almost 7 hour surgery, the head surgeon explained that Russell had become very close to being septic if we had not decided to follow through with the surgery when we did.


The doctors said that it would take Russell close to three months to fully recover from this surgery.  Even though Russell has been blessed with many understanding, compassionate, patient and trusting customers, he is eager to get well so that he can get back to work and deliver upon the promises he made to his clients.

Russell desperately needs financial assistance to cover the daily expenses of living while he recovers.  From paying bills, to eating the proper diet to getting back and forth to the multitude of follow-up and Crohn's maintenance doctors appointments, we estimate that he will need a  bare minimum of $3,000.  This will get him through this financial hardship until he fully  recovers.  The doctors have explained that the least amount of stress during his recovery the better.

My hope is that you will find it in your heart to donate to Russell as much as you are financially able.  But, more importantly, pass Russell's story along to everyone you know so that he can Bridge the Gap and return to work the fully recovered fighter that he is!

May God bless you  and keep your family healthy for many years to come!


"Russell's Angel"

  • Charles Koon 
    • $500 
    • 53 mos
  • Megan Black 
    • $25 
    • 53 mos
  • Dana Williams 
    • $20 
    • 53 mos
  • Teresa Elrod 
    • $25 
    • 53 mos
  • Anna Welch 
    • $50 
    • 53 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Russell Whitfield 
Powder Springs, GA
Krista Briggs