Advancing understanding and support for people with inflammatory bowel disease.
In Canada, 300,000 people live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, chronic forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with no known cure. Canada has one of the highest rates in the world — with one person diagnosed every hour. Managing IBD can be a long struggle, with many people spending years trying to find stability to control their debilitating symptoms through a variety of treatments. Losing stability can mean an IBD flare-up, the onset of crippling symptoms, hospitalization, complications, and more.
Crohn’s and colitis are sometimes referred to as “invisible diseases” since they may not be obvious from a person’s appearance — and speaking about symptoms like stomach pain or bloody diarrhea can be difficult — yet the numbers are significant: one in 140 Canadians is diagnosed with IBD, and many young adults get diagnosed in their late teens or early 20s.
As a teen involved in sports, Adrian Bulfon knew little about Crohn’s or colitis — there was no family history nor had the topic come to his attention. It wasn’t until severe symptoms took over his life that he was forced to take notice.
Now, over a decade later, he and his family are well-versed in the subject matter. Adrian is living with ulcerative colitis, and is also a member of the London chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, a national charity dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians affected by these chronic diseases as well as finding cures.
“When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2009, I was looking for answers,” says Adrian. “I made it my mission to find out as much as possible about these diseases. It’s why I chose my academic path with an interest in the primary care of others. It’s why I volunteer for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.”
While medications help many people cope with and manage devastating symptoms, this wasn’t the case for Adrian. He went through several years of trying different treatments, participating in two clinical trials without success. At his lowest point, he had lost over 50 pounds and there were many missed moments as he stepped away from sports and participated in university remotely. Stability for people living with IBD is hard-earned, and ensuring management and control of debilitating disease symptoms is paramount. It wasn’t until a proctocolectomy with a J-pouch that Adrian regained stability in his life. Now in his final year of university as a family medicine resident, Adrian is focused on helping care for others.
With the aim of creating awareness and offering support for others, Adrian shares his story and continues to volunteer with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.
There are many questions and challenges when you’re affected by a chronic disease. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada offers resources, programs, and a community of support across Canada. Find out how you can get involved at crohnsandcolitis.ca.
Gutsy Walk, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s largest annual fundraiser, brings the IBD community together from across Canada. Gutsy Walk is a fun-filled, family-friendly, and non-competitive day to walk in support of those impacted by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. On June 5, 2022, thousands of people will walk to raise funds for research and to support everyone affected by inflammatory bowel disease. Sign up today at gutsywalk.ca.