NEW YORK, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To help raise awareness of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, Larry Nance, Jr. is sharing his story with the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) as part of Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, December 1-7, 2016. Every seven weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers' power forward takes a break from his busy training schedule to go to the hospital for an infusion. Nance, Jr. receives an IV of medication and, for those few hours, he plays the part of being "sick." Outside of those infusions, no one would imagine that he lives with a debilitating digestive disease and all of the invisible symptoms that accompany it.
When he was 16 years old, Nance, Jr. was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, a painful, medically incurable disease that attacks the digestive system, causing abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. His journey from diagnosis to his NBA career is being featured on CCFA's website from December 1-7 to help bring visibility to and greater understanding of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. To learn more about Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, visit www.ccfa.org/awarenessweek/.
"I'm happy to share my story with CCFA and help bring light to Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," Nance, Jr. said. "Over the past seven years, I've dealt with the invisible aspects of Crohn's. I have had days where I was so tired I could barely get out of bed. For years, that fatigue prevented me from practicing or playing sports. I know that to most, I look healthy. But my reality, and the reality of the 1.6 million Americans living with these diseases, is that my outside doesn't always reflect how I am feeling inside. That's why it's so important to raise the visibility of these diseases."
Nance, Jr.'s story is being featured as part of CCFA's #IBDvisible campaign. From December 1-7, CCFA will highlight different invisible aspects of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, share patient stories, and encourage everyone to be an advocate on behalf of patients living with these inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). CCFA invites patients and the general public to participate in their Awareness Week activities by joining its social media Thunderclap, sharing their stories on CCFA's website, and participating in live social media chats, including Twitter chats on December 1 from 5-6 p.m. EST with Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready and on December 7 from 2-3 p.m. EST with Olympic gold medalist Kathleen Baker, both of whom live with Crohn's disease.
"One of the most common things we hear from our patients is how frustrating it is to be told 'you don't look sick' when internally, they are suffering. That is why for Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week, we are focusing on making the invisible visible," said Michael Osso, president & CEO of CCFA. "We are so appreciative of Larry's willingness to share his story and illuminate the invisible aspects of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. His story and the stories of the other patients we will highlight throughout the week put into perspective just how serious these incurable diseases are."
Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week was created in 2011 by U.S. Senate Resolution 199, "A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week, December 1-7." S. Res. 199 expresses appreciation to the family members and caregivers who support people in the United States living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It also commends health care professionals who care for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients and biomedical researchers who work to advance research aimed at developing new treatments.
CCFA's Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Week activities are supported, in part, by sponsorships from AbbVie, Janssen Biotech, Inc., Pfizer Inc., Sigma-Tau Healthscience USA, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., and UCB, Inc.
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SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America