Brandi Chastain, a former member of the United States women’s national soccer team and a retired world class professional soccer player recently elected to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, is collaborating with global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie to develop and promote a new inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) educational program called “My IBD Game Plan.”
The program is designed to help individuals afflicted with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — the two most common forms of IBD — create personalized plans to help them manage everyday activities and routines, and overcome the often unpredictable and emotional challenges of living with these diseases.
“When my son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease last year, I learned that having a game plan, and a team to support you, is key to managing the daily challenges associated with IBD,” Chastain said in an Abbvie press release. “I am partnering with AbbVie on My IBD Game Plan and sharing our family’s experience in hope of helping others living with IBD feel empowered to work with their healthcare providers and support teams to live well with these diseases.”
According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), IBD is estimated to affect as many as 1.6 million Americans, with approximately 70,000 new cases being diagnosed in the U.S. each year. The CCFA notes that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can be serious diseases that can worsen over time, with symptoms that may change in severity or change over the course of one’s life.
1) “Consult the IBD Playbook”
My IBD Game Plan includes learning as much as you can about IBD by checking out resources, such as those linked on the My IBD Game Plan website, that can help people living with IBD and their caregivers work with their healthcare providers and support team to manage the symptoms of these diseases.
Also cited as important is working with your gastroenterologist to find a treatment regimen that addresses your symptoms, and that may help with achieving remission. Additionally, the program recommends picking the biggest emotional or social challenge you would like to to overcome, and adding it as one objective of your overall IBD Game Plan.
2) “Get Ongoing Tips and Tools”
By signing up for the My IBD Game Plan email program, you will receive educational information about the chronic nature of IBD, along with tips for managing your symptoms physically, emotionally, and socially. Program participants will also receive a Restroom Request Card, which can be vital to discreetly communicating about your IBD and requesting access to restricted restrooms when unexpected symptoms manifest.
3) “Select Your Team”
My IBD Game Plan emphasizes the importance of making sure you have the support you need, sharing your personal IBD Game Plan with friends and family and enabling them to better support you. They also suggest you consider joining an online or in-person support network.
“We invite people who are living with IBD, and their caregivers, to hear Brandi’s personal story and hopefully to be motivated to create a plan with their doctor that will help them manage what can be a challenging disease,” said Michael Norton, AbbVie’s vice president of U.S. Medical Affairs. “My IBD Game Plan is part of AbbVie’s commitment to have a remarkable impact on the lives of people living with serious diseases.”
The CCFA notes that people living with IBD typically experience periods of remission — intervals during which there are few or no symptoms, alternating with periods of active disease symptoms. Common IBD symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramping, and rectal bleeding. While there is no cure yet for Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, treatments are available that directly address the inflammatory process that causes symptoms, and that can help in achieving and maintaining remissions.