Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month Sweeping Canada

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month Sweeping Canada

November is the Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Month in Canada, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada organization is working to raise awareness of the damaging consequences these two major types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can have on health and life quality, especially in younger people.

Canada is one of the world’s hotspots for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis for reasons that remain a mystery. It is estimated that one out of every 150 Canadians has one disease or the other, one of the highest rates in the world. According to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s campaign, Make it stop. For life, this statistic is more alarming due to the rates at which children are now being diagnosed.

The incidence of Crohn’s disease in those younger than age 10 has doubled in Canada since the mid-1990s. Due to an atypical response of the body’s immune system, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and its effects —  internal bleeding, intermittent pain, and fatigue — can last a lifetime.

“Crohn’s and colitis can significantly impact the ability of both children and adults to participate in daily activities. This often limits their success in school and work and increases isolation,” said Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, in a press release. “We strive to improve the lives of people affected by these diseases. Crohn’s and Colitis ‘Make it stop. For life’ campaign was created to help stop the pain, stop the surgeries, and stop the missed moments.”

Caregivers can struggle under the burden of IBD in younger patients, with worries caused by lost school or work days and high healthcare payments straining their mental and emotional health. The Impact of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Report reported that the costs for caregivers/parents of Crohn’s and colitis patients in Canada was around $7 million in 2012, with  some 5,900 children afflicted with IBD.

According to Make it stop. For life. campaign, everyone can help. To raise awareness and combat the isolation felt by many  young patients, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has started a series of radio, television, and public service announcements.

The “announcements chronicle the pain, embarrassment and isolation experienced by children, young adults and others who are living with Crohn’s or colitis,” said Mawani. “By shedding light on the severity of the illnesses and the toll it takes physically and mentally, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada aims to ‘Make it stop. For life.’ There is a role for each one of us [to] play in helping stop these diseases.”

The public can contribute and get involved by following Crohn’s and Colitis Canada on social media. Look for the #MakeitstopForlife hashtag or help raise funds by participating in local events.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only countrywide, volunteer-based charity dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and improving the lives of those affected by these diseases. They are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, having invested over $94 million in research to date. The ‘Make it stop. For life’ campaign aims to raise $100 million by 2020 to advance its mission. For further information, contact Adam Bornstein (adam.bornstein@smithcom.ca), Nic Canning (nic.canning@smithcom.ca), or call 905-505-2540.

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