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Calgarians raise money and awareness for Crohn’s disease and colitis at Gutsy Walk

Two hundred people put on their sneakers and walked along a trail in the northwest community of Montgomery to participate in the Gutsy Walk.

The event raises money and awareness for Crohn’s disease and Colitis.

These are diseases that inflame the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition and eliminate waste in a healthy way.

It is a lifelong disease and people may experience acute periods of active symptoms and other times their symptoms are absent.

“What’s hard to believe about Crohn’s disease and colitis is that it is an invisible disease. Someone might not be feeling well, and you can’t really tell when you look at them, so it’s really important to raise awareness about the disease in that context,” said Yas Habibyn, chair of the Calgary Crohn’s Department and Colitis Canada.

Signs and symptoms may include: abdominal pain and cramps; severe diarrhea; anal bleeding; blood in stool; weight loss and decreased appetite.

The exact cause remains unknown, so there is no cure.

“The incidence of Crohn’s and Colitis is actually increasing. More than 300,000 Canadians are currently diagnosed, with approximately 10,000 additional people diagnosed each year; so it is very important that we work together to find a solution to this growing disease,” said Habibyn.

There were walks at 20 locations across Canada on Sunday and organizers hope to collectively raise $1 million.