Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, these two diseases inflame the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and disrupt the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition and eliminate waste.

In 2012, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology reported that over 230,000 Canadians were living with at least one form of IBD with a prevalence rate of 0.67%. In fact, the overall economic cost of IBD at the time was estimated to be about $2.8 billion. These metrics associated with IBD have continued to soar over the years. Interestingly, it was deduced that the increase in prevalence and economic cost of IBD has been due in part to significantly low societal awareness for the disease’s debilitating effects. Thus, several scholars and patients suffering from IBD find it imperative that continuous attention be brought to IBD as a chronic illness that affects all aspects of life especially for people living with any of its conditions.

As a result of lack of societal awareness about IBD and having suffered from one of its forms, local celebrity from Canada’s Capital, Sid Cratzbarg, launched an annual fundraising gala to support research by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Sid remembers his harrowing experience with ulcerative colitis eleven years ago, when he suddenly developed the condition, which led to an emergency surgery to remove a large section of his colon. This was accompanied by several complications and a near death experience.

“I nearly died a few times and let me tell you, it makes you appreciate those who work so hard to save you. I joke that I’m the only Jewish man with a patron saint, but that is what the Ottawa Hospital’s Dr. Robin Boushey is to me”, Sid recalls.

Revitalized and now fully recovered, Sid has continued to maintain his optimism and unwavering charisma especially as he gears up to launch the gala’s third annual event on October 27th at Sala San Marco in Ottawa’s Little Italy. In the past, he’s raised up to $20,000 and he hopes to surpass that milestone this year.

The gala will be organized by Vis-à-Vis Events Inc. and it’ll feature a fashion show, marketplace with a luxury fragrance bar, show accessories, jewelry, purses and a silent auction with prizes worth over $18,000. Fashion houses like Vernini Uomo, Marianne’s, Joanne’s Cruisewear and fashion designer Marina McLeod will be in attendance along with Sid’s own cocktail brand, Get Sidified. You can get access to tickets via this website.

Not only will this fundraising gala shed more light into IBD and help fund continuous research for Crohn’s & Colitis Canada, it’ll also help Sid congregate the community in Canada’s Capital city, Ottawa, share his story and encourage them to understand the lived experience of patients suffering from the disease.