My name is Rasheed, and I work for Crohn's and Colitis Canada. And as I like to tell people, I’m also a client, because I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2008. I’ve lived through a lot because of my disease. Days spent in waiting rooms and emergency rooms. Mountains of paperwork to access treatments I couldn’t afford. The feel of cold steel on my back as I laid down on the operating table to have my large intestine removed. Through it all, there’s been one big constant.
When I’ve needed help, this country has been there for me. That help came from doctors, researchers, family, friends, and even strangers.
Today, I’m the beneficiary of decades-worth of scientific knowledge and scores of compassionate people. I’m feeling well again. I’m running and cycling again. And I’m lucky enough to have a job that lets me feel like I’m giving back to the country I love.
Canada has some of the highest rates of Crohn’s and colitis in the world, with one in 150 people affected. But just as our country has progressed over its 150-year existence, so too have we progressed in our understanding of inflammatory bowel disease. That understanding continues to grow through innovative research projects that are based right here.
Like the one taking place at McMaster University that examines the relation between bacteria and gut inflammation. And the one at the University of Sherbrooke, which examines how environments affect genes that make people less susceptible to disease. And of course the GEM Project, which seeks to uncover the possible causes of Crohn’s disease.
All of these projects, and many more, are funded by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Which means, really, they’re funded by you. Thank you for making progress possible, and creating new possibilities for people with inflammatory bowel disease.
Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve connected with people who are dedicated to lifting the weight off patients as individuals, and our country as a whole.
It’s those people – people like you – who I’m both proud of and grateful for. Thank you again.
Happy Canada Day from me, and the whole team here at Crohn's and Colitis Canada.