Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is welcoming the 20th anniversary of its Annual Gutsy Walk charity event.
The event, organized by the foundation as well as sponsored by companies like Abbvie, Takeda and Cashmere, is a national fundraising event held across Canada to raise awareness for inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
It takes place as a five kilometer walk that features a day of families participating in the walk and enjoying a lunch that includes hot dogs and hamburgers, live music, and play areas for children.
For those of you who don’t know what these two diseases are; Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory illness of the entire digestive system, especially the colon and ileum. While Colitis is the same inflammatory illness, but is only located in the large intestine.
According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, patients with the diseases are often diagnosed in their twenties. As well, there are 177, and 189 clinical products used worldwide for the treatment of Crohns and Colitis respectively.
The Walk is organized by individual chapters across Canada who make a huge day out of each event to raise money for research. There are 60 chapters across the country with approximately 70 000 participants each year.
Dana Silvestri is the Halton Chapter’s Honourary Chair for the Gutsy Walk this year. She has been battling Crohn’s since first being diagnosed just after she started attending university when she was 19. It forced her to take time off due to the stresses of the disease and school being too much to handle at the time.
“I find that being open about your situation, as I am about my Crohn’s, is the best way to accept it. It’s why I accepted the position of chair this year. I thought it was a good idea to tell others about it,” says Dana.
Carol Bettinson, the Halton Chapter President, has been working hard, along with other volunteers, to promote this year’s walk.
“We have been trying to adapt our advertising through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to better integrate our campaign to raise awareness,” says Carol, “The Gutsy Walk is our biggest fundraising event, and the Halton Chapter has been in the top five nationally before.”
“We really want to get people in the general public to be aware of this, and raise awareness for the disease as we have the highest rate of this illness in the world here in Canada.”
The Walk takes place on Sunday June 7th, and will be held nationally in local communities. This year’s fundraising initiative is $3.3 million dollars.