Editor’s Note: A multimedia refer inadvertently was added to the print version of this story.
Members of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America believe simple things, such as a day filled with live music, food and educational materials, can be the best medication for an otherwise incurable disease.
On Saturday, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, or CCFA, held its first Take Steps walk in the Lansing area. The event, which lasted from 3-6 p.m. near the rock on Farm Lane, was hosted to help raise awareness and support for those suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — two chronic inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
For Molly Campbell, Take Steps manager and Crohn’s patient of more than 12 years, her involvement with the organization took a personal twist when her oldest daughter, Emma, also was diagnosed with the disease.
“It was a horrific year and a half figuring out what medications worked and getting her into remission,” she said in an email. “My family and I walked in two Detroit Take Steps walks to get involved, raise money and be inspired … I was brought onboard CCFA as a part-time member to build awareness in West Michigan and Lansing.”
In addition to the walk, activities throughout the day included numerous guest presenters, who shared personal experiences and offered support to others struggling with the disease.
Currently, more then 1.5 million individuals suffer from Crohn’s disease in the U.S., with another 30,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Although the CCFA has generated more than $150 million for research advancements since its inception in 1967, many cases remain undetected each year.
Although there is no medical cure for the disease, according to Anthonie Burke, community development director for the CCFA’s Great Lakes Region, the growing amount of attention being devoted to the disease is similar to that shown with breast cancer.
“I sort of equate it to what breast cancer was 15-20 years ago,” he said. “I think we’re at that stage where a lot of people are coming out.”
The event gained the attention of many MSU students, including packaging senior Lauren McIntosh, who wanted to show support to those struggling with the disease.
“It’s great what they’re doing,” she said. “I know of people who have this disease, and it’s nice to see it getting some attention.”