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Photos: TV Soap Opera Veteran Speaks Out to Lead Charge to Cure Digestive Diseases

Actor John J. York's Public Service Announcements Highlight Community-Based Fundraising through Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Take Steps Walks

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Television and screen celebrity John J. York, best known for his role as Mac Scorpio on ABC's daytime soap opera General Hospital, recently donated his time to create a radio public service announcement (PSA) series on behalf of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. The 60, 30, and 15 second PSAs will encourage Americans to register for one of over 80 Take Steps Walk in communities around the country in spring and summer 2009. Walkers will raise much-needed awareness of and dollars for research into Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic, painful, and often debilitating digestive diseases collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) that afflict millions of Americans.

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York understands the ups-and-downs of living with a chronic digestive disease. Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 15, York has quietly coped with a mild case of IBD for decades. Playing General Hospital's police chief since 1991, and most recently joining the daytime soap opera's spin-off, Nightline, York has been able to live out his dream of being a soap opera star. But he's unlike most patients who go day-to-day not knowing when they will wind up in the hospital or miss days or weeks of work at a time.

After learning that his daughter could have inherited a gene that would put her at risk for inheriting ulcerative colitis, York decided to use his recognition to make a difference in patients' lives. "It was impossible for me to sit back and think that my child and thousands of other children could become the victims of this disease," says York. "I hope that my work not only advances the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's mission to find a cure, but helps the estimated 1.4 million Americans impacted win back their lives."

The number of people with newly diagnosed IBD has exploded in recent years and there is no known cure. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation has defined the field of IBD research for nearly a half-century, enabling the best scientists to discover better therapies and ultimately, a cure. "The opportunity to take research to the next level has never been greater than right now," says Richard J. Geswell, President of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "The funds raised by the thousands of people around the country who sign-up to participate in a Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis Walk in 2009 will help us achieve this vision."

Last year, over 30,000 Americans participated in Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis, raising a total of $6 million for the Foundation to invest in research, education, and support. Visit today to find a Take Steps walk in your community.

About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy ( For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit

SOURCE Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
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