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Bronx on track for IBD sufferers

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To address the needs of those affected by an Irritable Bowel Disease, the Bronx finally has a formal support group.

With over 35,000 New Yorkers suffering from Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, the Bronx support group is the fourth in NYC from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Greater New York Chapter, adding to the two in Manhattan and one in Staten Island.

According to Doctor Lawrence Brandt, Chief of Division of Gastroenterology at Montefiore Medical Center and Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Crohn’s is an inflammation that can affect the entire intestinal track, where as ulcerative colitis just affects the colon.

Many advances have been made in recent years to control and reduce the effects of the IBDs, but if untreated and unattended, they may cause sever discomfort and even hinder normal activities.

The CCFA is a national non-profit, volunteer driven organization.

The Bronx support group is being launched with the help of Vanessa Torres, Throggs Neck resident and a CCFA volunteer diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 19.

“When I was diagnosed I felt like I didn’t have any resources, and now I want to give those same resources I once expected to other people,” said Torres. “I think many people are embarrassed by the diseases, but if people start being open and expressing themselves about it, it may help them cope better and become more knowledgeable.”

Torres receives full support in her endeavors with CCFA from the Atlantis Health Plan, a health insurance company where she is the marketing coordinator. The company has helped to secure an AMG Medical Group site to hold monthly meetings.

At each meeting an informative guest speaker educates people on different aspects of the diseases.

“We want to supply them with information, and it’s all for free. My plan is to continue having speakers with different specialties come in, such as a nutritionist or psychologist, to help people become more knowledgeable,” said Torres. “It’s important for people to have support in the industry, and have all the key elements to helping them better understand the diseases to work towards a better life.”

Meetings are held the first Friday of every month around 6 p.m., at AMG Medical Group, located 2826 Westchester Avenue, Suite 204.

All are welcome to attend. For more information visit www.ccfa.org.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group