On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the Board of Trustees, members and staff of the Greater New York Chapter, honor the extraordinary individuals whose vision, fierce determination and generosity of spirit led to the birth of the Foundation 50 years ago. We deeply respect the Foundation’s founding families for nurturing, directing and courageously fighting for its recognition and goals. We thank them for easing the pain and suffering of so many, and... for giving us all the gift of their love, compassion and hope!
Story of our growth: 1967 - 2017
In 1967, Irwin and Suzanne Rosenthal, William and Shelby Modell and Dr. Henry D. Janowitz united to wage a campaign against Crohn’s disease (ileitis) and ulcerative colitis collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). At that time, physicians found IBD difficult to diagnose and treat; patients themselves had little understanding of the disease. The founders knew only too well the physical and emotional effects of IBD on patients and their families. They also recognized the general public’s ignorance of the tragic impact of the diseases on their victims. In response, they formed a national voluntary health organization, known today as the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to raise funds and awareness for these two diseases.
Today, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is a major force among American health organizations with over 50,000 members, donors, friends, physicians and 40 chapters nationwide.
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation quickly established three goals:
- To raise funds for research to find the cause of and medical cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- To develop support programs, education seminars and out-reach services for IBD patients and their families
- To educate the medical community and the general public about IBD
Fifty years ago, the Foundation’s first contribution to IBD research was a $32,000 grant. As of 2016, the Foundation has invested a total of $298 million. The steadily increasing financial support the Foundation has provided for research and education is a reflection of this extraordinary growth. The quality of the Foundation’s comprehensive research program is unrivaled sponsoring projects of both proven researchers and promising new ones, thus encouraging talented investigators to enter and remain in the field.
The Foundation has played a role in every major scientific breakthrough in IBD, including the discovery of infliximab, or Remicade®, the first biologic treatment for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and pediatric patients. In addition, the Foundation’s investment contributed to the identification of the first gene for Crohn’s, NOD2/CARD15. Most recently, a major genetic link to the development of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as other inflammatory diseases like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, has been reported in a recently published study.
Throughout the years, the Foundation has sponsored education seminars for patients and their families as well as workshops and symposia for physicians and scientists. The Foundation has distributed hundreds of thousands of informational brochures to patients, physicians and hospitals. Support groups have provided patients and their families with the opportunity to discuss functioning and coping with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, thus reducing the isolation and frustration of living with chronic illness.
The past 50 years have been fruitful. Challenges were met and new frontiers of IBD research were charted. The Foundation has come a long way, but the struggle is not over. A cure for IBD has yet to be found. Strengthened by a core of dedicated volunteers and equally dedicated physicians, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation will continue to forge ahead in its fight against IBD.