Our Story

Our Board of Directors came together with a common desire to make a difference in this world for those struggling with Crohn’s Disease and Colitis.  Through supporting research to find the cause and treatments available to improve patient lives, and our newest endeavor, a support network for patients and families.

Our People

Angela Richards


Angela Richards is the current President of Givin’ It All For Guts. She has been instrumental, along with the founder, in developing the organization to what it has grown into today. Angela is passionate about the goal of the foundation and enjoys meeting individuals or family members impacted by Crohn’s Disease, Colitis or IBD illnesses.

She maintained a career for over 9 years at May Department Stores Company in Consumer Research and Procurement. A new opportunity, to be closer to her home and family, started Angela’s career at Mississippi Lime Company. Over her 20 years of work experience at Mississippi Lime, Angela has held positions in Administrative, Logistics and currently serves at Customer Service Manager in St. Louis, MO. Angela is a graduate of Hickey Business School and in 2005 earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from Lindenwood University.

In her spare time Angela enjoys renovating the modest “ranch” which she lives on outside of Bethalto, IL with her daughter. She enjoys spending time with family, walking and enjoying cultural experiences around St. Louis.

Leah Watson

Vice President

Leah Watson is from Bethalto, IL and currently resides there with her husband, Jordan and daughter, Elliot. Leah attended Goldfarb School of Nursing through Barnes Jewish in St. Louis for her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing,  graduating in 2014, and is currently an oncology nurse at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton, IL.  Prior to that, Leah has worked as a nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and as a nurse coordinator at Washington University.  In her spare time, Leah enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and their Boxer dog, Shelby.

Leah’s husband was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003 and seeing the disease in real life has been an eye-opener and gives her motivation to help others in similar situations!  Leah truly loves creating fun community events to help raise awareness and funding to one day find a CURE for these diseases.

Ashleigh Schroeder


Ashleigh Schroederis a nationally published interior designer and owner of Nest Kitchen, Bath & Home Design, located in St. Louis, Mo., where she is recognized for her thoughtful designs and creative details. She graduated from Illinois State University, is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and has earned her CKD as well as her NCIDQ certifications. When she is not in the office she spends her time chasing her two beautiful children, along with her husband, Waylon. In her “spare time” she enjoys playing music around Alton, baking, and gardening. Ashleigh became involved with Givin’ It All For Guts after watching several friends and their families struggle with the complications of Crohn’s Disease and Crohn’s-related cancer.

Jennifer Gowin

Jennifer Gowin

Public Relations

Jennifer Gowin is a middle school teacher in the Bethalto School District. She has been teaching for seven years and absolutely loves her job! Some of her favorite past times include spending time with family, decorating, and helping others.

Jennifer previously worked with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization for nearly seven years. During that time, she was introduced to her “little sister.”

Jennifer’s “little sister” was only in 5th grade when they met, and now she is a freshman in college! Jennifer still keeps in contact with her “little sister.”

One reason Jennifer wanted to join the Givin’ It All for Guts foundation is because she has two friends who suffer from Crohn’s Disease. After seeing their struggles, she wanted to do something to help. As a new board member for the Givin’ It All for Guts Foundation, Jennifer is happy to help raise money for Crohn’s and Colitis research. Hopefully one day soon, there will be a cure!

Paige Kopsie


Paige Kopsie is from Jerseyville, IL and currently residing in Bethalto, IL with her husband Eric and daughter Cora. Paige attended Lewis and Clark Community College for her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal studies graduating in 2010 and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Lindenwood University in 2016. She worked as a legal assistant for 7 years before coming to The Boeing Company in 2013 where she is currently employed. In her spare time, Paige enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.

Paige’s brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003 and led to her joining Givin It All For Guts.  She enjoys working with the group on their mission to find a cure!

Jessica Phelan

Jessica Phelan

Director of Outreach

Jessica became involved with Givin’ It All For Guts! Informally in March 2018. She joined the Executive Board in September 2019.

Jessica earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education in May 2003. She earned her Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education in December 2011. She is employed as a Kindergarten teacher in the Roxana School District where she has been teaching for 17 years. She resides in Bethalto with her husband Darren, and two daughters.

Jessica wanted to become involved with the Givin’ It All For Guts! Foundation because her oldest daughter Olivia was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in January 2018 at 9 1/2 years old. She found the group on Social Media and has been thankful for all the support they have given her family and she looks forward to being able to help others in similar situations. Jessica is very eager to start working with this group to raise awareness and funding for a cure for this disease.

Lisa Loftus

Founder and Treasurer

Jerseyville native Lisa Loftus founded Givin’ It All For Guts!, a not for profit organization, in 2013 to support research for the cure of Crohn’s disease.

Lisa became well-versed in the debilitating effects of Crohn’s disease when her son, Jordan was diagnosed in 2003 at age 16. Lisa held her first fundraising event a decade later. It was a humble event that consisted of a 5k run/walk around her neighborhood and a jar on the sidewalk for donations.

Lisa retired in 2016 after a 20 year career with State Farm Insurance to care for her grandchildren. These days, most Givin’ It All For Guts! Business is handled during nap time or with a toddler or two in tow.

When she is not caring for her family, Lisa enjoys cycling with her husband, Mark and working around “The Land of Milk & Honey” their property located near Bethalto.