With news of increasing diagnoses of Crohn’s disease and colitis, it becomes more and more likely that you know someone affected by one of these stomach conditions or that you are affected. It might make you wish that something more could be done.
To that end, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is getting out the word about two community-based fundraisers: the Take Steps Walk and Team Challenge.
Like many fundraisers for various conditions, Take Steps involves team members -- typically wearing orange T-shirts and caps -- who gather pledges for their walk. In Phoenix, Ariz., for instance, about a thousand participants in a recent nighttime walk at the Phoenix Zoo raised almost $100,000. A list of upcoming walks in other parts of the country can be found at www.cctakesteps.org
Another fundraising effort is Team Challenge, an endurance training program in which participants collect donations to run, walk or cycle 13.1 miles. Later in 2011, Team Challenge will be at the Centurion Canada 50-mile bicycle race (September 18); the TriRock Triathlon in San Diego (September 11); and the Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon (December 4). For more information go to http://www.ccteamchallenge.org/
Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases and are often diagnosed in those between the ages of 15 and 35, although they can occur at any age. The foundation said that 1.4 million American children and adults have an inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s usually affects the entire intestine, while colitis attacks the colon. Both conditions can be painful and unpredictable and can impact day-to-day activities.
“The number of people with newly diagnosed IBD has exploded in recent years and there is no known cure,” according to an April 15, 2011, press release from foundation, which has long promoted fundraising and research seeking better therapies, education and support, and a possible cure. The foundation said that through the Take Steps Walks around the country more than $20 million has been raised in the past three years.
Lending a hand and doing public service announcements in support of Take Steps is Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, who has lived with Crohn’s disease for 24 years. Luckily, his condition is under control, he said in the PSAs, but urges people to get involved in finding a cure.
In other efforts to raise awareness, the foundation reported the launch of a congressional caucus that will urge greater funding for research into colitis and Crohn’s disease by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading the caucus are Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). The caucus also will look into insurance and disability issues for those living with IBD.
Reviewed June 2, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton