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Crohn's disease patient and Jacksonville's NFL quarterback, David Garrard, will join the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to raise awareness of and funds for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis by serving as the Honorary Chair of the Foundation's Take Steps Walk on Thursday, May 14 at Metropolitan Park.

Participants will enjoy a casual two mile stroll and raise money for crucial research that wouldn't even have been possible a few short years ago, bringing us closer to a future free from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, painful and often debilitating chronic digestive diseases that affect over 1.4 million Americans. This event, taking place in the evening, will also have live music, refreshments, and other fun activities.

Garrard knows first hand the painful, debilitating and often embarrassing effects of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Prior to the 2004 football season, Garrard began experiencing the excruciating symptoms associated with the disease, lost a significant amount of weight, and missed several weeks of preseason training. Following his diagnosis, Garrard underwent surgery and, in consultation with his doctor, began a treatment regimen. David returned to the playing field by the start of the 2004 season and has since led the Jaguars to a playoff appearance.

"When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's over five years ago, I had never heard of this chronic disease," says Garrard. "Yet today, millions of Americans are living day-to-day not knowing when they will require a hospital stay or miss work for days or months on end because of Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. The Take Steps Walk will spread awareness to the Jacksonville community about these diseases and how they affect patients in the hopes that in the future, others won't be sidelined from Crohn's and colitis."

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's inaugural Take Steps Walk in Jacksonville will help those affected by Crohn's and colitis to come together to help the Foundation in its mission to raise awareness, find better therapies and a cure, and provide much-needed education and support. Local residents can meet Garrard and learn more about at the Kick-Off event, Thursday, March 26, 6:00 pm, University of North Florida University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville.

For more information about becoming involved in Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis, visit or contact North Florida Development Director Molly Wahl at or 646-201-6468.

About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, and more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy ( For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit

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