SOURCE: Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

February 11, 2010 08:00 ET

Third Annual Celebrating UC Success Contest to Reach Thousands of Ulcerative Colitis Patients Nationwide

Contest Invites Patients to Creatively Express How They Have Overcome the Challenges of UC

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 11, 2010) - The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) announced today the launch of the third annual Celebrating UC Success contest, which encourages people living with ulcerative colitis, or UC, to share their experiences with this inflammatory bowel disease. This year's contest, called "Express How UC Success," asks UC patients to creatively express how they have overcome the challenges of their condition to live fuller lives.

UC patients may submit an entry that showcases their experiences with the disease in a creative way -- through photos, artwork, videos, creative writing, poetry or song. Entries may represent a personal achievement, a source of inspiration or an experience that prompted a memorable turning point in a patient's life.

"When I found out that I had ulcerative colitis, I felt compelled to hide my disease from others," says Nicole Defenbaugh, professor of communication studies at Bloomsburg University and a 2009 Celebrating UC Success contest winner. "One day, I found the courage to write about my illness, and it was one of the most empowering, therapeutic experiences. It drove me to begin a career of performing and writing about my disease to educate others -- it helped me feel hopeful about the future."

This year, CCFA is expanding the Celebrating UC Success program to feature Facebook® and Twitter™ applications, which will provide real time updates about the contest and program. Further, consumers who become Facebook fans of UC Success can help decide the grand prize winners by voting for their favorite semi-finalist entry. To become a Celebrating UC Success Facebook fan, visit www.facebook.com/UCSuccess or text "FAN UCSUCCESS" to FBOOK (32665). Consumers can also follow the contest on Twitter @UCSuccess, or text "FOLLOW UCSUCCESS" to 40404.

"We've learned from people living with ulcerative colitis that creative expression can be healing and empowering, helping people to make space for different aspects of themselves -- not just the disease," said Kimberly Frederick, vice president of patient and professional services, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. "Creative expression and community have become prevalent through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, so this year we are excited to give patients another outlet via these areas."

More than half a million Americans are living with UC, a form of inflammatory bowel disease that involves inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum and may cause flares typically followed by periods of remission. While treatment can help manage symptoms, there is no cure for UC.

About the Contest

How to Enter

Individuals can enter the contest by visiting www.UCSuccess.org or www.facebook.com/UCSuccess and electronically submitting their creative entries. Entrants may also download an official hard-copy entry form from UCSuccess.org or www.facebook.com/UCSuccess. The completed entry form can be mailed in with the creative entry. Entrants can include one of the following:

--  A photograph that depicts their creative expression (for example, a
    photo of their original artwork, gardening, etc.), OR
--  A soundtrack of their creative expression (for example, a soundtrack
    of their original song, speech, etc.), OR
--  A video of their creative expression (for example, a video of their
    original dance, performance art, etc.), OR
--  A "written work" of 500 words or fewer (for example, their original
    poetry, short story, etc.)

In addition to their creative entry, entrants must also submit a 1500-character (maximum, including spaces and punctuation) original "written statement" that describes how this form of expression has influenced and/or impacted their lives.

Visit www.UCSuccess.org or www.facebook.com/UCSuccess to learn more about the contest, view the official rules and to enter the contest. The deadline for submissions is April 21, 2010.

Winner Selection

Ten semi-finalists will be posted to the Celebrating UC Success Facebook fan page, where fans will be encouraged to vote for their favorite entry. This will help determine five grand prize winners, who will be awarded a trip for two to participate in CCFA's Take Steps walk in Seattle, Washington on July 18. Celebrating UC Success grand prize winners will be able to meet with others affected by UC and take part in Take Steps festivities. Finally, winning entries will be posted to www.UCSuccess.org and Facebook for public viewing. Every applicant will be recognized for his or her contribution to Celebrating UC Success and will receive a complimentary one-year membership to CCFA.

The Celebrating UC Success program is made possible through support from a pharmaceutical partner. For more information on this or other CCFA programs, please contact Marie Granieri at (646) 943-7444.

About Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

UC involves inflammation of the lining of the colon and rectum and may cause flares typically followed by periods of remission. During a flare, in which the rectum or colon become inflamed, people experience symptoms such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping and an urgent need to go to the bathroom.

Ulcerative colitis varies in clinical severity with patients having mild, moderate or severe disease, and treatment depends on the extent and severity of an individual's disease. While ulcerative colitis is a lifelong condition, medication may help control flares.

Ulcerative colitis affects people of all ages, but is often diagnosed during early adulthood. The causes of this condition are unknown, but may involve heredity, infection and/or the immune system.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America is the largest non-profit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding a cure for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and it ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with approximately 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The organization is committed to improving the quality of life of children and adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) through research, education and support services, offering resources like the Information Resource Center (IRC), which serves as the central source for information and guidance for IBD patients. Information Resource Center specialists respond to an average of 13,000 inquiries and requests annually, and over 30,000 brochures and fact sheets are mailed to patients and caregivers through the IRC every year. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org). For more information visit www.ccfa.org or call the Foundation at 888.MY.GUT.PAIN to find a local chapter, and/or disease-specific education, support and treatment information.