The reason I mention these two blogs is because they kind of opened my eyes to the new campaign going on by The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) called Escape the Stall (http://www.ccfa.org/escapethestall/). The face being put to the campaign is Amy Brenneman who is known from such shows as Private Practice, NYPD Blue, and Judging Amy.
First, I applaud Amy for coming out of what I call the IBD closet. It is great to have another face to the disease. I am also very happy that the CCFA is finally putting ads and stories out there nationally. IBD is usually talked about quietly in dark corners. CCFA is now bringing out into the open and I am very happy and thankful for that.
I had read the reason for why they went with this campaign and at first it didn’t bother me. I admit I have used bathroom humor in the past as I have a page on Facebook called Bathroom Talk. But as I look into myself, I know I did it as a way to cope.
Over the past year I have learned so much about IBD. Crohn’s and Colitis is no laughing matter. Yes, a lot of us use laughter to cope with our chronic illness, but in no way should the illness be looked upon in a funny way. As the ads show, we spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Anyone with IBD knows this is a reality..but it is a small part of the disease. And this is where I come to the realization that the CCFA ads are not a good idea.
So many people with IBD are sick. They have no energy. They can’t do simple things like get out of bed. Some people are in constant pains. Belly pains, joint pains, muscle pains…just overall pain. There is nausea, fevers, rashes, and eye problems. We take horrible medicines that give us really horrible side effects with some of those being untreatable cancer. Many people with IBD have numerous scars from many surgeries. Some people spend months in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes. Many suffer from drastic weight lose and look like walking skeletons.
Now you are probably thinking, “Wow, people with IBD have it bad”. Well, yes we do. But looking at the new ads, all you would think is that we spend a lot of time on the toilet. When people put out ads for cancer we see bald people hooked up to chemo. When there are ads for emphysema we see broken down people hooked up to oxygen tanks. The no smoking ads in NYC show people with amputations, trach tubes, and just looking horrible. So where is our graphic ads?
When it comes down to it, seeing an underweight person with IV’s and an NG tube laying in a hospital bed with some surgical scars would be more effective than saying “Hey this person poops a lot. Help them out”. I recall when I first got diagnosed as a teenager with Crohn’s that my doctor told me that I would most likely have at least one surgery in my life due to the disease. Where is that fact in the ad.
I am grateful for all that CCFA has done and continues to do. I will be volunteering this year for their Take Steps walk and hopefully for Camp Oasis. But I have to say that I am shamed by their new and first national ads.