There are approximately 1.6 million Americans living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), an umbrella diagnosis that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The causes of these diseases are unknown and no medical cure exists.
In 2011, Congress declared December 1-7 as Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. A resolution to recognize all people in the U.S. living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and show appreciation to the family members and caregivers who support them.
Here are a few organizations making a huge difference in the lives of IBD patients:
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is finding new ways to talk about an invisible condition with their new social media campaign #IBDvisable.
"Why be #IBDvisible? While IBD patients may look healthy, internally they may be suffering. The toll IBD takes on the entire patient lies hidden underneath, significantly reducing public understanding of what IBD is and how it affects quality of life. YOU can change this by getting involved and sharing your stories, giving a face to these diseases." - Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Crohn's and Colitis Canada highlights an important issue for the 250,000 Canadians living with Crohn’s or colitis - washroom access. Join thousands of Canadians across the country who are speaking out for improved access. Take action by using their online form to send a letter to your local federal MP and the federal Minister of Persons with Disabilities, calling on them to legislate washroom access for federal government buildings and government-operated service facilities not requiring security clearance.
"For the 250,000 Canadians living with Crohn’s or colitis, there is nothing more important than improved washroom access. During flare ups, patients can feel like they live in the washroom. This can severely impact work, school and personal relationships as people living with these chronic diseases often become isolated due to the constant fear of not being able to find or have access to a washroom." - Crohn's and Colitis Canada
Crohn's & Colitis UK
It's the Crohn's & Colitis UK's mission to increase the understanding of Crohn’s and Colitis and to ensure the true impact of these conditions are visible. You can help tell the world what it's like to live with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis by creating your own Crohn's, Colitis & Me poster. Once you've made your poster, it may be posted to their website gallery and you can also share it on Facebook and Twitter.
Even if you don't have IBD, you can participate in Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week. Here are just a few ways to support loved one’s facing this disease:
- Tell someone about these diseases who has never heard of them.
- If you do not live in one of the 13 states with legislation like Ally’s Law: The Restroom Access Act, why not talk to one of your State Representatives to pass the Restroom Access Act granting employee-only bathroom access to IBD patients.
- Purple is the color chosen to represent IBD awareness. Wear purple to support a friend, family member, or loved one with the disease.
The number of Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients increases each year, but so is awareness thanks to the efforts of many non-profit organizations, advocates and those affected sharing their stories.