Mark Petty spent a lot of time in Coffman Park playing and skateboarding.

Mark Petty spent a lot of time in Coffman Park playing and skateboarding.

Petty will be on the mind of many June 20 when the Walk for Crohn's and Colitis comes to Coffman Park for the first time.

The June 20 event is the biggest fundraiser for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, putting money towards research, education and patient services for the disease that killed Mark at age 21.

Mark wasn't diagnosed with Crohn's Disease until his senior year at Coffman High School.

"I just thought he was my picky eater," said Mary Ann Petty, Mark's mother.

The disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract didn't slow Mark down, however, even after he graduated from Dublin Coffman High School in 2008 and went to the University of Cincinnati.

"When he had a flare up he would drink a lot of Gatorade and sit in the shower with the water on," Petty said.

"When he was at school he would finish class for the day, get his homework and go to the hospital for the night.

"He would be back in class the next morning."

Mark, who was majoring in civil engineering, even scored a summer internship in New York City.

"His brother was going to visit," Mary Ann said.

"They were going to do Manhattan."

But, Mark had a flare up and decided to wait until his brother, Matt, arrived to go to the hospital.

He sat in the shower to deal with the symptoms as usual and by the time Matt arrived, Mark was dead.

"It's so important for me to get exposure for this," Petty said, adding that she's talked to several people with Crohn's who deal with symptoms the same way.

"If he had heard of someone dying from doing the same thing, he would have gone to the hospital."

The New York City coroner listed Mark's cause of death as complications of Crohn's Disease.

"She said he was a healthy kid with an extreme case of Crohn's," Mary Ann said.

To raise awareness and funds for research into the disease that killed her youngest, Mary Ann got involved with Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis.

"He was a very active kid," she said, adding that Mark played soccer, baseball and hockey.

"He never sat still. He was very jovial. He loved math. His dad is an engineer and he wanted to be an engineer."

The walk, that last year drew about 3,000, is moving from Franklin Park Conservatory to Coffman Park which is something of a homecoming for Mary Ann and her team, He Made His Mark.

"I'm so excited to be back home," she said.

Take Steps for Crohn's is set to start at 4:30 p.m. June 20 in Coffman Park, with the walk set for 6 p.m.

The family-friendly event will have information about Crohn's and Colitis, vendors, food and a lot of children's activities, Mary Ann said.

The fundraising goal for the walk is $253,000.

For more information about Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis, look online at Volunteer opportunities are available.

Those interested can contact Brianne McFarland at for details.