You may remember the article American Idol, Casey Abrams’ campaign for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. You can read it here.
Casey teamed up with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) on IBD Icons www.IBDIcons.com to inspire people living with IBD to pursue their dreams. Through the campaign, people living with IBD will have the opportunity to share their stories of success for a chance to win the title of IBD Icon and a trip to see Casey perform at the Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & ½ Marathon to benefit the CCFA. Casey’s message is to encourage people to ask for help early on in spite of young people often being embarrassed by some of the symptoms.
Nine finalists were chosen and from that one with ulcereted colitis and one with Crohn’s will be voted the 2011 IBD Icons. For every vote cast, Janssen Biotech, Inc. will donate $1 to the CCFA for IBD research and education.
One of the finalists is from this Examiner’s state: Massachusetts. Her name is KerriAnn MacNeil and she is from Canton, MA. She has been battling with Crohn’s disease for nearly 10 years.
At the age of 17, she had her eye on the Navy and a desire to sail around the world, following in the footsteps of her grandfather. She applied to the Naval and Coast Guard Academies, received her letters, had the grades, and thought she was getting in. When it came time for the physical portion of the admission process her Crohn’s disease was perceived as too risky despite her being physically fit and was medically disqualified by both institutions.
Fortunately, Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, MA saw KerriAnn’s potential and accepted her and her Crohn’s disease. She fell in love with the campus, the school, the regimen, and was living her dream. Her opportunity and experience led her to traveling around the world via the sea.
Following graduation, KerriAnn secured a position in the field as a United Stated Coast Guard Officer, Third Assistant Engineer with ExxonMobil and has since been traveling around the world.
KerriAnn is also active in raising awareness about IBD with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) through their Team Challenge efforts including fundraising and marathon running.
She started with an email sharing her personal experience to raise monies. After a friend got her note posted on the Mass. Maritime Parents’ Association website KerriAnn received a message from a freshman at Mass Maritime who has ulcerative colitis. What struck her most was when he said “As I have sat there in the bathroom many times, I thought to myself can I do this? Why am I doing this? Then I came across your letter, and I knew it could be done.” They have been connected now for nearly two years.
KerriAnn signed up on the IBD Icons website to share her story, and hopes that people vote for her and find inspiration from her story. If she wins, she will meet American Idol contestant Casey Abrams, who is the face of the IBD Icons campaign and a person living with ulcerative colitis, in Las Vegas around the CCFA Rock ‘n Roll marathon, in which she is preparing to run now her third marathon.
KerriAnn’s message to others living with IBD is “Never let this disease get you down. Yes, there may be bumps in the road, but that is what life is all about. That’s how you learn and grow.”
Let’s support KerriAnn. Go to Information about the IBD campaign and vote for KerriAnn MacNeil.