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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Walk for IBD cure

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On Saturday, June 22, people from across the Metro area will walk on the Mall, bringing attention to an area of the body many of us shy away from talking about. Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis is the nation's only walk dedicated to finding a cure for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which plagues more than 1.4 million adults and children in the United States.

Although Crohn's and colitis affect a large group — including about 25,000 in the Washington area — many people are not fully aware of the symptoms, severity and treatment for these currently incurable diseases that attack the digestive system and can lead to cancer.

IBD can significantly affect an individual's quality of life, and many patients require hospitalization and surgery when symptoms cannot be controlled. However, with a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan, living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis can be manageable.

Sadly, many people suffer in silence, but with Take Steps, we want to rally this community together, encouraging them to walk, be heard and join others who want to help improve the quality of life for those affected by these diseases.

People of all ages can join us at the Take Steps walk. You can also support a walker raising funds for the nonprofit, volunteer-driven Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, which supports patient programs, education efforts and cutting-edge scientific research.

KEVIN J. HARLEN

Take Steps Walk chairman

Capital Digestive Care chief operating officer

Silver Spring

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