NEW YORK, May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 5 million people worldwide live with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two debilitating inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Despite its prominence, public understanding of these diseases is limited, and much more needs to be done to increase awareness. To help educate the public about these chronic autoimmune diseases, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the leading non-profit, voluntary health organization dedicated to finding cures for IBD, is holding its first-ever day of action, CCFA in Action, today for World IBD Day. For more information about CCFA in Action, visit www.ccfa.org/WorldIBDDay/.
Inspired by an idea from a staff member who is also a Crohn's disease patient, CCFA in Action is modeled around a day of service. Today, CCFA's offices around the country will close for a half-day and more than 200 staff members from 41 chapters will go out into their communities to participate in activities ranging from visiting pediatric patients in the hospital to coordinating community events with local IBD researchers.
"In the United States alone, more than 1.6 million adults and children live with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These diseases are physically, emotionally, and financially devastating, and impact every facet of a patient's life and the lives of those who support and love them," said Michael Osso, President & CEO of CCFA. "World IBD Day provides us with the opportunity to increase public awareness of these debilitating diseases and go into our local communities in a different way to support those living with IBD."
CCFA in Action will complement the efforts of the more than 40 countries on four continents working to raise awareness about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Around the globe, major landmarks will be highlighted in purple to recognize World IBD Day.
"I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 20 years ago, and having conversations about these diseases is critically important," said Food Network Host Sunny Anderson. "World IBD Day provides the perfect outlet for patients to start discussions about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and help raise critical awareness of how debilitating these diseases can be."
"We are pleased to join with the European Federation of Crohn's & Ulcerative Colitis Associations and other organizations around the globe in raising awareness of these incurable digestive diseases, not only on World IBD Day, but all year round," said Osso.
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss. Many patients require numerous hospitalizations and surgery. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35, and the incidence is increasing in children.
"World IBD Day is a great opportunity to get out and raise awareness of these diseases," said Jake Diekman, relief pitcher for the Texas Rangers and ulcerative colitis patient. "While I am outspoken about my journey with IBD, many others are not because of the stigma around bowel diseases. World IBD Day provides the opportunity for the IBD community to stand together and support each other in our journey with these debilitating diseases."
CCFA in Action is sponsored by Pfizer, Inc.; Prometheus Therapeutics & Diagnostics, a Nestle Health Science Company; Salix Pharmaceuticals; Shire; and Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). CCFA's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit www.ccfa.org, call 888-694-8872, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America