Scholarship eases the way for students living with IBD

For young Canadians living with inflammatory bowel disease, a new scholarship will help them finish their education.

A recent survey of Canadians living with or affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), carried out by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC), found that a majority of youth feel that they could have achieved more at school if they did not have the disease. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents were delayed in completing their post-secondary education due to their illness.

A majority of IBD patients endure many challenges when it comes to their education. With intensive medical treatments, debilitating symptoms and lengthy hospital stays, keeping up with school can become extremely difficult.

IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) causes intestinal tissue to become inflamed, form sores and bleed easily. Patients suffer from symptoms including abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue and diarrhea that are often urgent and unexpected.

During an active flare-up of the disease, 86 per cent of sufferers have more than five bowel movements or “false urges” a day, and 14 per cent of those have more than 20 per day; during an active flare-up of the disease, 44 per cent of sufferers described their pain as agonizing and debilitating or steady pain that lasts for hours; 66 per cent experienced depression and anxiety during an active flare of their disease. (The CCFC Impacts of IBD survey was carried out online amongst a nationally representative sample of more than 500 Canadians.)

To support Canadian students living with IBD, empower them and to raise awareness about this chronic disease, CCFC and Abbott Canada are launching the new Abbott IBD Scholarship Program, designed to help encourage students to live well with IBD so that they can excel at their personal and academic goals.

Through an unrestricted educational grant by Abbott in Canada, CCFC will extend seven one-time scholarships of up to $5,000 to students living with IBD who are entering into or currently attending a post-secondary institution. Students of all ages are welcome to apply and the scholarship can be used for any Canadian post-secondary institution.

The program supports students with Crohn’s and colitis during a critical time in their lives, helping ensure their disease doesn’t prevent them from achieving their full potential,” says Dr. Kevin Glasgow, CCFC’s chief executive officer. “Due to the isolating nature of the disease, people living with IBD too often miss out on the great life experiences many of us take for granted, including completing their education.

“While the search for a cure continues, we believe this partnership with Abbott will open many doors, and help lift some of the burden of living with IBD.”

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