Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week kicked off on December 1, and in recognition of the observance, New Orleans Saints linebacker Michael Mauti will dedicate his cleats during Week 13 of the NFL season to help raise awareness of these inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and the critical work of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to find cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Mauti’s cleat design features the Foundation’s logo along with the Colitis Ninja, an icon of ulcerative colitis blogger Amber Elder, who is local to Mauti’s home state of Louisiana.
Mauti is all too familiar with these debilitating, incurable digestive diseases. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis during his senior year at Pennsylvania State University. For years, medication helped control his disease symptoms–which included abdominal pain, urgency, weight loss, mental anguish, and much more–until last November.
From November–April, Mauti underwent a series of three surgeries during which his colon and rectum were removed and an internal pouch was created from the small intestines and connected to the anus, preserving the nerves and muscles necessary for continence. After going through the surgeries, Mauti is more committed than ever to raising awareness of Crohn’s and colitis.
“As someone who struggled with ulcerative colitis on and off the field for years, I’m grateful to help bring awareness and help provide resources for the many people out there struggling with IBD,” said Mauti. “On my cleats, I’ve featured the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, which raises money to help fund research to hopefully one day find cures for these diseases, and Colitis Ninja, a great information resource for people to share their stories, as well as raise awareness to help people fight these diseases together.”
Stories like Mauti’s are all too common. That is why, during Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is working to raise awareness of the individual nature of Crohn’s and colitis. More than 1.6 million Americans live with IBD, and the number is increasing. However, every patient experiences the diseases differently.
“It’s important for people to understand that every IBD patient’s journey is unique,” said Michael Osso, President & CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “That is why sharing stories, like Michael Mauti’s, during Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week is so important. It helps show just how debilitating and varied these diseases can be, and how we need the support of everyone–in and out of the IBD community–in order to unite to care and cure Crohn’s and colitis.”
Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week is observed yearly from December 1-7. The week was first designated in 2011 by U.S. Senate Resolution 199. Each year, the week brings together patients, caregivers, providers, and the general public to educate others for better understanding, and strengthen the fight to find cures for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Mauti’s cleats are just one part of this year’s awareness week campaign. Other activities include live social media chats, patient video testimonials, advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., and more.
About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD.