When the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) was founded in 1967, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, were little known and not understood. Those who were diagnosed with these serious chronic illnesses generally had nowhere to go for education or support. Most were uncomfortable discussing their condition, even with friends and family. Resources for research funding were scarce.
From the beginning, CCFA has sought to offer IBD patients hope for a better quality of life and future cures, as well as inspiring action to achieve those goals. With your help as donors and friends, CCFA has played a critical role in the revolutionary changes in research, treatment, and awareness of IBD over the past 45 years. You have kept us moving ahead.
Today, we are the largest private funder of IBD research outside the federal government, having invested more than $200 million in approximately 1,525 senior research and training grants over the past 45 years. In 2012, your help enabled us to invest $44.2 million, up from $43.5 million in 2011, in programs critical to our mission. Eighty-two percent of all funds raised in 2012 went directly into research, education, and patient/family support.
There is still work to be done...
Along with research funding, the need for patient and professional services and support continues to increase. Currently one in every 200 Americans is affected by IBD. The fastest growing patient population is under the age of 18, and the percentage of new patients over 60 is also on the rise. CCFA patient services strive to reach patients and families at every age and stage.
Support groups remain at the heart of our mission. In 2012, support groups served 12,575 patients and families. The introduction of our new online support group has enabled patients whose nearest in-person group may be more than 200 miles away to participate in live chats with doctors and nurses. Webcasts and online seminars provide information on topics ranging from research breakthroughs to handling the transition from pediatric to adult medical care.
With your help, we can continue to fund all of our vital programs. Your support not only funds critical research, but also helps sustain crucial education and support programs for those who are struggling with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.