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Lacing up to fight Crohn's and Colitis

Hundreds of people are expected to gather at Bell Park on Sunday, June 8 for the annual Gutsy Walk, to raise funds for research related to Crohn's disease and colitis. Both are debilitating diseases characterized by the inflammation of the bowels.
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Hundreds of people are expected to gather at Bell Park on Sunday, June 8 for the annual Gutsy Walk, to raise funds for research related to Crohn's disease and colitis. File photo.
Hundreds of people are expected to gather at Bell Park on Sunday, June 8 for the annual Gutsy Walk, to raise funds for research related to Crohn's disease and colitis.

Both are debilitating diseases characterized by the inflammation of the bowels.

Crohn's and colitis can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.

There is no known cure for either disease, but therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission.

One in 150 Canadians has Crohn's disease or colitis.

The number of new cases of Crohn’s disease in Canadian children has almost doubled since 1995.

Sudbury's Gutsy Walk is part of a national movement behind more than 60 walks across Canada.

Since 1996, the event has raised more than $26 million for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

In Sudbury, the walk had around 200 participants last year, and raised around $36,000.

Stephanie Gallagher, co-chair of Sudbury's Gutsy Walk, said she started to participate in the walk three years ago for her mother, who lived with Crohn's disease for seven years, before she died of cancer in 2013.

Gallagher said reducing the stigma around Crohn's disease and colitis is important.

“It's the disease nobody talks about,” she said about Crohn's disease, due to its embarrassing symptoms.

In addition to the funds raised for scientific research, Gallagher said the Gutsy Walk helps raise awareness about the disease and reduce stigma.

Participants are invited to register for the Gutsy Walk online at www.gutsywalk.ca.

Gallagher said teams can easily collect funds through online donations after they register. She has already raised $1,600 for this year's walk, she added.

The Sudbury walk will feature free refreshments for participants and entertainment by Jim and Sarah Matt.

Jonathan Migneault

About the Author: Jonathan Migneault

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