On Sunday June 8th, nearly 15,000 participants walked together across 59 Canadian communities raising funds towards a future without Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The GUTSY WALK, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s largest single day fundraiser raised $3,004,624 to advance medical research and improve the lives of the 233,000 Canadians already living with Crohn’s or colitis.
Samantha, Jessica and Jason were among Sunday’s 15,000 “Gusty Walkers”. Samantha is two years old, and adores everything Sesame Street, playing with stickers and taking care of all of her stuffed animals and “babies”. Jessica and Jason, “Sam Sam’s” Mom and Dad, enjoy hearing Samantha giggle with excitement when they take her swimming and to the park. They love seeing her active and curious. This tightly-knit family share one other thing in common: they all have ulcerative colitis.
Little “Sam Sam”, who was just over a year-and-a-half old when diagnosed with early onset paediatric colitis – a rare form of ulcerative colitis, enjoyed the Toronto walk with her Mom and Dad. “Samantha has been our brave little trooper through all of her tests, poking and prodding. She is a happy, loving and sweet little girl who makes me laugh on a daily basis,” says Jessica. “Sadly she is not the only one in our family affected by this disease.” Jessica’s husband Jason was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 10 years ago, and Jessica was diagnosed with the chronic disease this year. “We’re walking today to show our support for the work of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, and so we can look forward to a day in Samantha’s lifetime when no family has to live with these diseases.”
Canadians have more reasons to be concerned about Crohn`s and colitis than anyone else in the world. Families new to Canada are developing these chronic diseases for the first time – often within the first generation. Most alarmingly, the number of new cases of Crohn’s disease in children has almost doubled since 1995. Crohn’s and colitis are lifelong diseases that result in pain, urgent bathroom visits, hospital stays, and multiple surgeries. They can affect academic success, careers, and relationships.
Speaking to a crowd at Sunnybrook Park in Toronto, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada CEO Lindee David recognized the commitment of those who made the event possible. “We are all ecstatic with the success of the GUTSY WALK. Our community of participants, volunteers and supporters do so much to help us improve the lives of the 1 in every 150 Canadians that face Crohn’s and colitis. This rate ranks in the highest worldwide, making Crohn’s and colitis truly “Canadian diseases”. Today was an incredible opportunity for us to walk together – uniting patients, their families and supporters to show those we care about that they are not alone.”
While there is no known cause or cure for Crohn’s or colitis; as a result of the more than $82 million in research investments made by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, important progress has been made to advance the understanding of these diseases and find new treatment options and, ultimately cures.
Quick facts about the GUTSY WALK
- Gutsy Walk started in 1996 in 24 communities and has since grown to 59 communities; $29 million in funds raised to date.
- Over the past 18 years, with the support of thousands of dedicated volunteers and participants, Gutsy Walk has grown from raising $280,000 to $3 million per year for education and research.
- Through the fundraising efforts of Gutsy Walk participants, there are more researchers hard at work in Canada – we have funded more than 36 promising research projects in the past year.
Quick facts about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s and colitis are disorders that cause the intestines to become inflamed and ulcerated. This is caused by an abnormal response to the body’s immune system.
- There are more than 233,000 Canadians living with Crohn’s and colitis.
- One in every 150 Canadians has Crohn’s and colitis – a rate that ranks in the highest worldwide Crohn’s and colitis costs Canadians $2.8 billion per year in medical costs, patient out-of-pocket expenses and work absences
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (formerly known as the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada) is a volunteer-based charity dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and to improving the lives of children and adults affected by these chronic diseases. As Canada’s leading non-governmental funder of Crohn’s and colitis research, we have invested over $82 million to foster advances in research, education, awareness and advocacy to date. By working together, we can help advance the understanding of these diseases and fund the programs that will result in more treatment options and, ultimately, cures.
SOURCE: Crohn’s and Colitis Canada