by Given To Wail
On May 13, 2003 during a speech at the Northwest CCFA Chapter's 3rd Annual "Many Faces of Hope" luncheon, Mike McCready, for the first time publicly, told the world that he has been living with Crohn's disease for over 15 years. Crohn's disease "is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon" (CCFA.org). There is no cure for this disease. Inspired by the stories (and often times horrors) told to him by other people living with Crohn's, Mike wanted to share the idea that it is possible for those with the disease to "still have a life and a career."
Since the luncheon, Mike, and other members of Pearl Jam, have been involved in numerous benefits aimed at supporting the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Whether it's playing the "National Anthem" at a Thunderbirds game, being a guest speaker at CCFA events, or even hosting an evening of a one of a kind benefit with "friends", Mike has been working hard to bring attention to the disease and more support for those living with it.
In the days and weeks following Mike's speech, GTW received an increased volume of mail from people voicing their support and admiration for Mike's courage and dedication to the CCFA. More importantly, there were also batches of emails from visitors who suffered from Crohn's themselves. These emails all had a strong theme running through them: Mike, by just delivering his speech and going public with the disease, inspired and moved others with Crohn's to discover more strength and courage in themselves so that they may be able tomore effectively handle the stress (including emotional) that comes with such a chronic disease.
If you'd like to learn more about Crohn's and Colitis or the CCFA itself, you can visit the CCFA website or click here for specific information on Crohn's. The multiple kinds of events that Mike (et al) participate in are all aimed at raising awareness and support for the Northwest Chapter of the CCFA and those living with the disease.