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Raising Millions for Team Challenge through Rock ‘n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Program Brings Hundreds From Across the Country to Raise Funds for Crohn's & Colitis
Date:12/2/2009

On Sunday, more than 900 runners and walkers from Las Vegas and around the country will cross the finish line at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon powered by Zappos.com, raising over $3.2 million for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation through its half marathon training program, Team Challenge (www.ccteamchallenge). As the official charity of the race, the funds will go toward research, education, and support initiatives to benefit the 1.4 million American adults and children living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic, painful, and often debilitating digestive diseases. Bob Van Dillen, meteorologist for HLN's “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” will serve as National Honorary Chairman and will run the 13.1 mile race.

Las Vegas, Nev. (Vocus) December 2, 2009 -- On Sunday, more than 900 runners and walkers from Las Vegas and around the country will cross the finish line at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon powered by Zappos.com, raising over $3.2 million for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation through its half marathon training program, Team Challenge (www.ccteamchallenge). As the official charity of the race, the funds will go toward research, education, and support initiatives to benefit the 1.4 million American adults and children living with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic, painful, and often debilitating digestive diseases. Bob Van Dillen, meteorologist for HLN's “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” will serve as National Honorary Chairman and will run the 13.1 mile race.

"I'm honored to serve as Honorary Chairman for this truly incredible event through the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation," said Van Dillen. "Chances are, there are hundreds—if not thousands—of “Morning Express with Robin Meade” viewers out there who are affected by Crohn's and colitis. Participating in this event is a way I can help the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation in its mission to build awareness and fund critical research to ultimately find a cure."

“As the official charity and with assistance from HLN’s Van Dillen, the Foundation has been able to further elevate awareness of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and raise much-needed funds for patients who are suffering from them,” said Staci Brown, National Event Director for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. “Involvement in this energetic event is allowing the Foundation to tap into new markets and reach new heights in its awareness-building and fundraising efforts.”

Las Vegas holds a special place in the hearts of CCFA as it is home to several patient honorees suffering from the disease, including 21-year-old Crohn’s patient and Miss Clark County 2009, Christina DeLessio. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at only 9-years-old, Christina suffered from a significant weight loss, constant nausea, and nutrient malabsportion. Soon after diagnosis, she was put on massive doses of steroids, causing her to gain too much weight and become unrecognizable from the drug’s bloating effects. “This weekend as Team Challenge participants cross the finish line, they will be doing so for the millions of patients around the country suffering from the physical and emotional impact of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis—for the little girl who came home crying every day for being made fun of, the family who travels to doctors every week, or the student who can’t go to class because of how badly they feel,” says Christina. “We all have good days and bad days, but I only want to focus on the good. I want to be the voice for those who do not have one and the hope for those who are struggling.”

Team Challenge prepares participants to run or walk a half marathon while helping to raise funds for research, education and support. Twenty-seven chapters throughout the nation recruited runners and walkers, provided 16-week training programs, and offered fundraising advice and assistance. Over the event weekend in Las Vegas, Team Challenge participants are celebrating together and exploring all Las Vegas has to offer with highlights including a pre-race pasta party, entertainment along the half marathon course, and a post-race victory party.

Runners and walkers interested in taking part in summer 2010 races, the Boston 13.1® and Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathons, with Team Challenge can visit www.ccteamchallenge.org or call 866.931.2611 to find a local chapter training.

About Crohn's Disease & 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
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 (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org). For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit www.ccfa.org.

About Bob Van Dillen
Van Dillen is a meteorologist for HLN. Based in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Van Dillen joined the network in September 2002. Before joining HLN, Van Dillen was with the NBC affiliate WCNC in Charlotte, N.C., where he was a weekend meteorologist. Before this position, he was the morning meteorologist with CBS affiliate WTVH in Syracuse, N.Y., where he had also served as the weekend meteorologist. Previously, Van Dillen worked for ABC affiliate WUTR in Utica, N.Y., where he served as chief meteorologist. He began his career in Long Island, N.Y., as a forecaster for the Metro Weather Service. Van Dillen was awarded the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Seal of Approval in March 1997. He also is a full member of the AMS. Van Dillen earned a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ariella Levine
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
646-420-8146
alevine (at) ccfa (dot) org

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/12/prweb3285334.htm.


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