It was an afternoon of inspiration, love and hope Saturday, Nov. 10 at the second annual Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s West Palm Beach Take Steps Walk.
More than 500 people attended the mile walk around CityPlace to support mission critical services such as support groups and education programs for patients and caregivers, Camp Oasis, CCFA’s weeklong summer camp program for children living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as important research to find a cure.
The walk serves as an important component of the efforts CCFA makes to create awareness and raise funds to support the more than 1.4 million (94,000 in Florida) Americans suffering from digestive diseases.
“We are incredibly grateful to the hundreds of people who support our mission and efforts each day, especially those who take time out of their weekend to attend our events,” said Amy Gray, executive director of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s Florida Chapter. “These digestive diseases are becoming more and more prevalent today, especially in children and teens, and it is vital that we do all we can to support research efforts to find a cure. And, we are proud to say that 82 cents of every dollar we raise goes towards our programs, services, and research efforts. Those who support us can rest assured that their money is being put to good use.”
The Levine family and Caler, Donten, Levine, Cohen, Porter & Veil, P.A., were the largest fundraisers of the Take Steps Walk raising more than $27,000.
The Levine family became involved with CCFA when they learned that their daughter, Rebecca, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Irene and Joel Levine vowed to do everything within their power to find a cure for the disease their daughter was living with and have kept that vow by supporting CCFA and raising close to $200,000 in the past three years. CCFA has tentatively scheduled the 2013 Take Steps Walk for Nov. 9 in CityPlace.
Notable guests in attendance were Joel and Irene Levine, Dave Donten, District 5 West Palm Beach City Commissioner Shanon Materio, Lauren Hills of WPEC Channel 12, and Keli Fulton of WPTV Channel 5. Wendy Greenhut served as chairwoman of the event. Sponsors included Caler, Donten, Levine, Cohen, Porter & Veil P.A., Digestive CARE and Abbot Pharmaceuticals.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn’s disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.
The CCFA’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The foundation ranks third among leading health nonprofits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 79 cents of every dollar the foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs.
For more information, contact the foundation at (800) 932-2423 or visit www.ccfa.org. Join CCFA on Facebook or follow CCFA and Take Steps on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ccfa and www.twitter.com/takesteps.
To learn more about the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, call (561) 218-2929 or visit www.ccfa.org/chapters/florida.
Above: The Levine family and team members.