Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Putting A Famous Face On IBD
When you think about Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you normally think about the person sitting across from you in the waiting room of your Gastroenterologist office. You see normal every day people: Those who work in a professional environment, school-age children & college students or senior members of the community.
But, this disease doesn't discriminate. There is a long list of famous faces who struggle daily and fight with the rest of us.
I was amazed to learn in 2003 that Mike McCready, guitarist for Pearl Jam, was diagnosed with IBD at a young age. When McCready became an outspoken advocate for IBD awareness, he helped me come to terms with my own condition. I was embarrassed to talk about how I had to go to the bathroom 10 times a day or felt anxious about finding a bathroom in public. McCready has always been extremely candid in discussing his condition. I've always appreciated his candor in explaining things that I've had the displeasure of experiencing. McCready is the person who inspired me to be proactive in raising awareness about Crohn's and colitis.
When I was diagnosed, I didn't know anyone, let alone a celebrity, who suffered from IBD. Since then, I've learned that there are quite a few famous faces who have Crohn's, colitis or both.
Rolf Benirschke is a former NFL kicker for the San Diego Chargers and founder of the "Great Comebacks" program.
David Garrard is the current Quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars. As a matter of fact, for every rushing or passing touchdown that David scores during the' 09 football season, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. will make a donation of $10,000 to CCFA for research, education, and support initiatives.
Anastacia is a songwriter, a singer and a dancer from Chicago. She was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at age 13. She had a huge hit with "I'm Outta Love" in 2000.
Beth Orton is a british singer, songwriter who was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 17.
George "The Animal" Steele (real name: Jim Myers) is a former wrestler for the WWF. He also speaks very candidly about living with Crohn's on his website.
Shannen Doherty most famously played Brenda Walsh on "Beverly Hills 90210" in the 90's. She's also starred on TV shows like "Charmed" and "Our House". Her film credits include "Heathers" and "Mallrats".
I've really only touched on the surface of celebrities, public figures and politicians who also have IBD. For instance, former President George H.W. Bush's youngest son, Marvin, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and in 1991, the CCFA named Marvin Bush as its spokesman.
So, you are not alone in this fight. For years, I thought I was the only one. Since then, I've met some really great people who have shared their stories with me and have shown me that life continues regardless of what diagnosis we've been given.
Keep your head up, be proactive and continue to educate & raise awareness about IBD!