Someone you know likely suffers from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, debilitating digestive diseases that affect 1 out of every 200 Americans, including 150,000 children nationwide. They are painful, medically incurable diseases.
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; however the incidence is increasing in children.
For those who suffer from these diseases, nothing is more important than finding better, more effective treatments, and ultimately, cures. Chapel Hill fourth-grader Lukas Stone says, “It’s important to fight back against these diseases and find a cure, so other kids like me don’t have to be so sick.”
Since its inception the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), has provided more than $200 million for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis research. With more than 1,500 grants awarded, CCFA has played a role in every major scientific breakthrough for these diseases, from generating data that led to new therapies to the discovery of the first gene for Crohn’s disease. In recent years, CCFA-supported research into the multiple factors that influence both the onset and the progression of disease has revolutionized our understanding of these diseases – and is already opening doors to new drug treatments and diagnostics.
CCFA has awarded $7,625,161 to researchers at UNC and $721,483 to researchers at Duke.
In addition to grants, CCFA provides innovative education programs and materials to patients and their families nationwide and runs Camp Oasis for children who have these diseases.
In the Triangle, CCFA hosts a bi-monthly pediatric education program where parents can join the CCFA and a panel of pediatric Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis experts from Duke and UNC for an informative question and answer program. The next program will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, at the Chapel Hill Public Library. This program will provide parents the opportunity to ask a pediatric gastroenterologist, nurse practitioner, nurse and nutritionist all of their questions about managing their child’s disease. Topics to be covered at the program include: medication and treatment options, diet and nutrition, social and emotional issues, and working with schools for the right accommodations.
Take Steps is Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s largest community based event, bringing families, friends and patients affected by these digestive diseases together for a family-friendly walk in local communities across the nation to raise money and awareness for CCFA.
The Triangle Take Steps walk takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 25, at Lake Crabtree County Park. Six hundeds to 700 walkers are expected to come out for the family-friendly 2-mile walk that takes place along the shoreline. Lukas has formed a team to participate in the walk and has to-date recruited 52 teammates in the Chapel Hill area and raised $11,670. Not done yet, he hopes to raise at least $15,000!
This remarkable boy has already made a difference and we can’t wait to celebrate with his team on walk day! To learn more about Lukas and help him achieve his goals, consider joining his team at http://online.ccfa.org/goto/ATeamCalledQuest or register as an individual or form your own team by visiting the walk’s website at www.cctakesteps.org/Triangle.