By Bryan Fern

Chances are you or someone you know is part of the estimated 1.5 million who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), or more commonly known as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. This is an incurable chronic disorder of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract that causes painful inflammation of the intestines, bleeding, and the inability to absorb nutrients, among many other possible symptoms.

With 70,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States alone, and an alarming increase in childhood cases, the chances that you will come in contact with this disease in your life-time is growing. My passion for this cause is personal, since I was a part of these statistics for over 25 years of my life.

In 1986, while waiting to report for Air Force basic training, I began to experience unexplainable health issues, which required postponing my enlistment date. After six months of tests, I was finally diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Unfortunately, my condition disqualified me from active service, and as I would experience over the next 25 years, it was not the last thing the disease would try to take from me.

I lived much of the next 20 years in remission, but suffered enough periodic flare-ups to remind me that I was living with a ticking time bomb. Then in 2006, what seemed to be a routine flare up turned into a four-year battle that would test every ounce of my strength and faith.  I underwent a procedure called a BCIR. Although it has given me my life back, it is not an answer to the disease itself.

My hope is to raise $5,000 by Monday, May 19 for CCFA’s fundraising campaign.

The second part of the campaign culminates in one of five global, 13.1 mile half marathon events where participants have the opportunity to share their stories and create a supportive network that can last a lifetime. I plan on participating in the race held in Jamestown, RI in July.

A minimum of 80 cents per dollar raised by CCFA goes directly to research and patient support and contributions are tax-deductible. If your company has a matching gift program or is interested in a corporate sponsorship, contact me directly at Corporate donations will have its company’s logo on our team singlet, CCFA website, as well as other marketing opportunities. To make a donation of behalf of a Crohn’s disease sufferer, e-mail me and I will be honored to place that name on my racing jersey. Secure donations can be made by credit card on my fundraising Website page at For more information, visit


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