Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and ConvaTec Recognize Young Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and ConvaTec, a world-leading manufacturer of ostomy and wound care products, announced today the recipients of the Great Comebacks(R) Program 2006 Ina Brudnick Scholarship and the Comeback Kids awards. Abby Ryan, the 2006 Ina Brudnick Scholar, was honored alongside Lauren Belanger, Becca Davis and Michelle Flude, the 2006 Comeback Kids, in New York City on November 18th at CCFA’s annual meeting.

The Ina Brudnick Scholarship is an extension of the Great Comebacks Program and honors one deserving high school graduate planning to pursue a higher education with a $2,500 scholarship. The Great Comebacks Program also recognizes the inspirational achievements of three young Comeback Kids between the ages of seven and 17 who are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD, a collective term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, or an ostomy.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans are affected by IBD, and approximately 750,000 are living with an ostomy. The most susceptible to IBD are adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. Ten to 20 percent of those afflicted with IBD develop symptoms, including persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain or cramps, fever and weight loss, before the age of 18.

“These remarkable young people were selected because each embodies the spirit and determination that defines a Great Comeback. By sharing their stories of perseverance, they provide hope to thousands of other children and young adults living with what can be very debilitating conditions,” said Rolf Benirschke, former San Diego Chargers place-kicker, IBD patient and chairman of the Great Comebacks Committee.

2006 Ina Brudnick Scholarship Recipient
– Abby Ryan, of La Crosse, WI, is an active member of CCFA, United
Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) and the Miss America Pageant. She
was diagnosed with IBD as an infant and underwent ileostomy surgery at
age 11. Through her affiliation with the Miss America pageant, Ryan has
been honored as Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest 2001, Miss Western Wisconsin
and Miss Midwest and hopes to become the first Miss Wisconsin with an
ostomy. She is currently attending the University of Wisconsin at La
Crosse, majoring in Elementary Education with an Early Childhood minor
and has made the Dean’s List five times.

The 2006 Comeback Kids Recipients
– Lauren Belanger (Crohn’s), of Travis Air Force Base, CA, was diagnosed
with Crohn’s disease as a 3rd grader. She was selected for her
extracurricular involvement in acting, volunteer work at her local
homeless shelter and service as a CCFA youth ambassador.
– Becca Davis (Ulcerative Colitis), of Appletown, WI, was diagnosed with
ulcerative colitis at the age of 10. For Davis, her participation as a
camper at CCFA’s Camp Oasis was a life-changing experience that provided
her with the encouragement to help other teens facing IBD. Since camp,
Davis has participated in multiple fundraisers benefiting CCFA chapters,
Camp Oasis and a local IBD youth support group.
– Michelle Flude (Ostomy), of Anaheim, CA, entered her senior year of high
school looking forward to varsity softball, prom, and senior activities.
She knew managing the symptoms of IBD combined with the stress of her
senior year would be a challenge, but through her perseverance she
maintained a 4.0 GPA, passed three AP tests and was an active
volunteer with her local CCFA chapter. Currently Flude is a freshman at
Northern Arizona University.

“For young patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, recovery is as difficult emotionally as it is physically because this is a key developmental phase in the life of any young person,” says Richard J. Geswell, CCFA President. “That’s why it’s important that support networks like Great Comebacks and CCFA keep reaching out on a regional and community level, recognizing children and young adults for their individual strength and also for what they have given back to other young people.”

“Through more than two decades of the Great Comebacks(R) Program, it has been gratifying and exciting to watch how this program continues to grow,” added Dave Johnson, president of ConvaTec. “Today we honor not only these recipients, but also those who supported them in their accomplishments and those they will go on to inspire at ConvaTec. Their stories drive us to provide the technology and support that aids in their ability to achieve great comebacks.”

About the Ina Brudnick Scholarship

In the memory of Ina Brudnick, an enterostomal nurse involved in the development and advancement of ostomy care, ConvaTec awards each year a $2,500 scholarship to a deserving high school graduate, 24 years of age or younger, who intends to pursue a higher education. The student must have undergone ostomy surgery and/or have had Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

About Comeback Kids

Comeback Kids, originally known as the Local Hero Patient Celebration Program, recognizes young individuals between the ages of seven and 17 who, despite having IBD and/or an ostomy, live active, productive lives while managing their illness. The award is sponsored jointly by the CCFA and ConvaTec.

About Great Comebacks

Each year, the Great Comebacks program recognizes adults, children and teenagers who are living with IBD, colorectal cancer or an ostomy. Begun in 1984 by former San Diego Charger place-kicker and ulcerative colitis patient Rolf Benirschke, Great Comebacks provides hope, inspiration and education to support patients and their families.

About ConvaTec

ConvaTec, a world-leading manufacturer of ostomy and wound care products with a heritage of caring about patients, is a Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) . Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care products company.

About CCFA

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s (CCFA) mission is to cure and prevent Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through research, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these digestive diseases through education and support. More than 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. CCFA consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy (

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