You might be surprised at the amount of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) organizations that are out there, ready to provide you with all kinds of support and fundraising and awareness opportunities. Read on to learn about the top five most active IBD organizations you should know about, whether you’re living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC) or you’re caregiver.
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
Perhaps the most well-known IBD organization is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCF), founded in 1967. CCF’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and UC and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.
Not only is CCF focused on a cure for Crohn’s and UC, but they also offer a ton of resources and events across the United States and the world for all IBD patients and caregivers. Through CCF, you can find a local support group that meets in person, get connected with gastroenterologists in your area, learn more about IBD, and attend a wide variety of fundraising events both locally and nationally.
This is the organization for you if… you want more education about IBD, connections with in-person support groups, or participation in awareness events like walks and marathons.
Girls With Guts
Girls With Guts (GWG) was founded by Jackie Zimmerman in 2012 to empower women with IBD to share their stories of confidence and promote self-esteem. Since changing leadership in 2017, GWG is focused on establishing a nationwide network of women to add to their growing sisterhood to find support and increase awareness.
GWG provides a chance to grow the sisterhood in person at their annual retreats that feature team-building activities, advice from gastroenterologists and psychologists, and a chance for a woman to not be the only sick one in the room. Additionally, GWG now manages an online private forum with more than 3,000 women where you can look for advice and share stories.
This is the organization for you if… you’re a woman and want to connect with other women to grow your support network.
The Great Bowel Movement
The Great Bowel Movement (GBM) was founded in 2010. GBM’s goal is to spark the IBD conversation; for example, they’re known for their “Ask me about my Crohn’s/UC” t-shirts and apparel. The organization’s mission is to foster conversations around the complexities and realities of IBD and to help people find the power in sharing their IBD truths.
If you want to connect with others and your passion is education and advocacy for these diseases, GBM is a great place to get started. GBM’s members are of all genders and are mostly patients, and they’re supported by caregivers as well.
This is the organization for you if… you want to get involved to help increase awareness and education about IBD.
IBD Support Foundation
The IBD Support Foundation (IBDSF) was founded in 2006 with a mission to prevent IBD patients from ever feeling alone because of their disease, offering a wide range of support groups for anyone impacted by IBD, including children and caregivers. IBDSF also has a medical advisory board that works with the organization to provide education symposiums for their members and caregivers.
In addition to in-person support groups and community chapters in California and Jerusalem, IBDSF also has an online community that you can join no matter where you are in the world. This online community is known as a safe place for IBD patients, family members, loved ones, and friends to express their thoughts, pose questions, respond to posts, or read others’ stories.
This is the organization for you if… you want online support, or if you’re a caregiver, family member, or friend of someone with IBD and want to connect with other caregivers in the community.
Connecting to Cure Crohn’s & Colitis
Connecting to Cure Crohn’s & Colitis (CCC) aims to promote public awareness about Crohn’s and colitis, to fund research for new treatments and cures, and to support patients and their families. To date, CCC has donated more than $1 million to organizations and institutions that specialized in IBD research.
This Los Angeles-based organization has two major events they put on throughout the year, in addition to a support group that meets in person once a month. The events, a golf outing and a rock-‘n’-roll night, are fundraisers to help raise money for the organizations and institutions that support IBD research.
This is the organization for you if… you’re based in Los Angeles and seek in-person support, whether you’re a caregiver or patient.
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Mandy is a writer and cat mom who is slowly becoming a health-nut. She’s earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in professional writing. For her master’s thesis she wrote about patient education materials for those diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. She works full-time as a technical writer in Chicago, and serves on the board of directors and blogs for Girls With Guts, a non-profit organization to support women with IBD and/or ostomies. Follow more of her stories on HealthCentral and blog posts on the Girls With Guts website.