In recognition of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week (December 1-7), UCB, Inc. is directing a national effort to educate the public about Crohn's disease and inspire those living with the condition to speak out about it. The campaign will hinge on real stories from real people succeeding in the face of Crohn's disease, adding clarity to a misunderstood condition while providing a platform for Crohn's patients to engage and draw support from one another. Joining the cause are a diverse group of public figures who live with the condition – including Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson and guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning band Pearl Jam Mike McCready – as well as everyday heroes like Lois Fink, co-founder of the IBD and Ostomy Awareness Ribbon, and Crohn's Advocates Cindy W., a community volunteer, and Ray C., a race car driver.
December 1-7 was designated Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week in 2011 by the U.S. Congress to educate the public about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two painful Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) that affect 1.4 million Americans. Approximately half of the people with IBD have Crohn's disease, a chronic disorder that can be extremely painful and difficult to diagnose and treat.
Crohn's disease can take an emotional toll in addition to its physical symptoms. Tasks like working, running errands, traveling and maintaining social or romantic relationships can often present a challenge. Due to the persistent stigmas surrounding Crohn's disease, people living with the condition can experience feelings of embarrassment, confusion, frustration and isolation.
"Learning I had Crohn's disease was overwhelming at first, and I felt isolated by how little I knew about the condition and the affects it would have on my life. By educating myself and reaching out to people succeeding with Crohn's disease, I quickly reached the point where I could focus on the positive and live my life," said Johnson, who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2003. "Awareness and education can be incredibly powerful. I want to show the world that by putting a name and a face on Crohn's disease, we can break down the isolating barriers and inspire hope in a better future."
UCB Drives Awareness and Action
As part of a week-long tribute to the vibrant spirit of the Crohn's disease community, UCB will share videos capturing success stories from courageous individuals with Crohn's disease on the Crohn's & Me Facebook page. Videos will feature inspiring individuals living with Crohn's disease, including Johnson, Fink and the Crohn's Advocates.
In addition, Crohn'sAdvocate™, a program that includes a team of more than 20 Advocates committed to educating the public about Crohn's disease and overcoming stigmas associated with the condition, will mobilize in early December to share their experiences, dispel myths and provide hope to others seeking to live their best life with Crohn's disease. The Advocates will share their stories about living beyond the boundaries of Crohn's disease on Facebook. The Advocates will also take to social media alongside Carrie Johnson to spotlight UCB's support programs that help people live beyond the boundaries of Crohn's disease.
"Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week is the perfect time to celebrate the significant strides made to educate the public about Crohn's disease," said Carol Satler, MD, PhD, Vice President, U.S. Medical Affairs, UCB, Inc. "This progress has been driven by individuals willing to share their personal stories about living well with Crohn's disease, which creates heightened visibility for an often misunderstood and stigmatized condition. As a patient-centric company, we at UCB are using this time to celebrate those who courageously inspire others to talk about Crohn's disease and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment."