A 20-year-old with a rare stomach condition is having others join him on a “pie face challenge” to raise awareness about the disorder.
Andrew Belliveau, of Massachusetts, suffers from gastroparesis, a condition that causes stomach muscles to work improperly and leaves patients unable to digest food.
“It is basically like having your stomach paralyzed,” Belliveau said. “[It’s] very isolating and frustrating and difficult to live with… because it’s more of an invisible condition. You don’t want to have an episode in front of people. It’s just like a Russian roulette every time you try to eat something.”
Belliveau struggled as he grew up, often fearing going out in public and not knowing where the bathroom is. He persevered, however, attending school and joining the baseball team.
“My parents pushed me to maintain a normal life,” Belliveau said.
During National Gastroparesis Month in August 2016, Belliveau decided he wanted to do something and after seeing how much the Ice Bucket Challenge impacted the ALS community, he decided to come up with a similar idea, the GP Pie Face Challenge.
The rules include: Recording yourself smashing a pie tin full of whipped cream in your face, challenging others to do so, and donating to G-PACT, a non-profit organization that provides services for people with gastroparesis.
To date, the challenge has raised well over $5,000.
Famous baseball players, like Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, have completed the challenge.
“I want to find a cure and raise further awareness, but I also want the world to realize and see the struggles that people with GP go through on a daily basis because it’s tough to see people go through this condition,” Belliveau said.