This year’s Federated Health Charities campaign runs from April 3, 2023, to June 30, 2023. During the campaign, we will highlight how each of our 21 charities works to improve the health and well-being of people across our province.
The tenth charity we are spotlighting is Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada was founded in 1974 by a group of parents with children who had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis to learn more about these conditions and address the lack of funding for research in this area.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of conditions that inflame the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste in a healthy manner. Crohn’s disease and colitis are chronic conditions, which means people with Crohn’s or colitis will experience acute periods of active symptoms (a flare) and periods when their symptoms are absent (remission) throughout their lives. While a person’s genetics, environment and microbiome can be risk factors for Crohn’s or colitis, the exact cause of these conditions remains unknown. As a result, there is currently no cure for Crohn’s or colitis.
Crohn’s disease and colitis impact different areas of the gastrointestinal tract, and people with these conditions can experience differences in symptoms, treatment options and complications. But common signs and symptoms of Crohn’s and colitis include abdominal pain and cramping; severe diarrhea; rectal bleeding; blood in stool; weight loss and diminished appetite. The symptoms of Crohn’s or colitis during a flare of the disease can have a serious negative impact on people’s quality of life and their ability to fully engage in routine activities like going to work, school or social engagements.
“People living with Crohn’s or colitis experience a lot of pain. They might have hundreds of ulcers through their GI tract. They might be having diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, a lot of symptoms that, for most people, are very private,” says Angie Specic, VP of Marketing and Communications, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. “They may not look sick, but on the inside, they are very sick.”
From a group of concerned parents, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) has grown into the largest non-governmental funder of inflammatory bowel disease research in Canada and the second largest in the world. Their investment in research has led to the development of new treatments and lower rates of surgery for people with Crohn’s disease and colitis, greater innovation and collaboration, and a focus on studies that impact patient outcomes and care.
CCC also offers a wide range of programs and services for children and adults living with Crohn’s and colitis through their national office and more than 40 volunteer chapters across the country. Programs like Camp Got2Go for kids and Gutsy Peer Support for people who are newly diagnosed with Crohn’s or colitis help provide a supportive community of peers and mentors for people of all ages living with IBD.
“Crohn’s and Colitis Canada connected me to a lot of other females who have the same type of fistulas that I do,” says Shelby, a CCC client and volunteer. Being able to talk with a group of women who had experienced what she was going through was validating and played an important role in helping Shelby understand her diagnosis: “Oh, something wasn’t always wrong with me, I just really didn’t understand what was happening.”
Federated Health Charities has worked with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada since 1988 to raise funds and awareness of these chronic diseases.
“Ultimately our mission is to find the cure,” says Angie Specic. “Along with that, we want to improve the lives of the many people living with Crohn’s or colitis.”
To learn more about Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, please visit Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (crohnsandcolitis.ca).
To make a payroll pledge or donation to support Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and Federated Health Charities, please visit Federated Health Charities.