Friday May 19th,2017 was World IBD Day which is a global day of action observed annually to raise awareness of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, two diseases that affect approximately five million people worldwide. Dr. Mike Evans explains these diseases in a simple, concise and very accurate 5 minute video below, please watch:-
From all indications, this year's World IBD Day was a resounding success the world-over. I'd like to express heartfelt thanks to everyone who showed support for the cause by wearing purple (a colour that looks good on everyone!). It's comforting to know that people care and were willing to take time out of their busy lives to show it. While it may seem like a small gesture, it was and is a very big deal to IBD sufferers, like me, all over the world; we really do need your understanding and support in making these debilitating invisible diseases visible to everyone. While IBD is present throughout the world, for some unknown reason, Canada has the highest incidence -1 in 150 people, as compared to the rest of the world - 1 in 350; that's more than double. The group with the fastest growing number of new cases are children under 10 years, though the numbers in all age groups are also raising rapidly, not just in Canada but globally. THAT should concern everyone. Some are even calling it a 20th century epidemic because of its escalation since the 1990's. And just because IBD is not one of the more "popular" diseases, it shouldn't be casually dismissed or ignored. People (and their families) living with Crohn's and UC face tremendous challenges every single day - physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and social. The devastating impact IBD has on a person's life is difficult to explain to people because you're judged by your outward appearance which in most cases seem very normal; the pain, suffering and challenges are anything but. Although a great deal of progress has been made over the past decade or so in terms of treatments, particularly biologics, and in understanding how these diseases progress, there are still a lot unknowns. That's why fundraising and campaigns like World IBD Day are so very important. Research is the only way to find a cure and I believe one will be found sooner or later, and with the public's support and awareness, it can be sooner rather than later. There is strength in numbers.
Special thanks to those of you who went even further (than wearing purple) by also sharing your pictures. I'd like to give kudos to The National Association of Crohn's and Colitis of Trinidad and Tobago for a very impressive campaign, especially since they were only launched in 2013. From what I saw on social media, they all seemed so committed to the effort to educate people about these life-changing diseases. I'm happy to share some of the pictures of the day - here in Toronto and in Trinidad and Tobago.