Crohn’s and Colitis Fundraiser Helps to Raise Awareness

Bay Ridge residents turned out recently to help raise money for the fight against Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD).

On Saturday, October 6, good friends Esme Ellison and Kristine Kelleher hosted the Bingo Power 2 Cure fundraiser for IBD at the Harp Bar at 7710 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, raising over $1,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

The event was in preparation for Spin4 Crohn’s & Colitis Cures, the official Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation indoor cycling event on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Kelleher has suffered from ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract, since she was in college and has since undergone a total colectomy. Ellison has suffered from Crohn’s disease since first being diagnosed in 2009.

“I want to thank everyone for coming to our event today,” Kristine told this paper. “Not only did we raise money for Crohn’s and colitis, we also helped raise awareness for patients that don’t advocate for themselves. They may look fine on the outside but they’re not fine on the inside. It’s an invisible disease and it’s really nice to bring awareness to it.”

“The mission of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is to cure IBD,” Ellison told this paper. “One out of every 200 infants, children and adults in America suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. There is no cure and the incidence of Crohn’s and colitis is increasing worldwide.”

Ellison and Kelleher had committed to raising at least $1,000 at the Harp Bar where guests were able to purchase $20 bingo cards, with each card valid for all 10 games, and win a variety of prizes.

“Esme and Kristine are good friends of mine and they’re wonderful people,” Harp owner Rory Traynor said. “So when they were looking for a space we were happy to let them have it.”

Ellison explained the importance of raising people’s awareness about these diseases and how they can help. She mentioned two notable entertainers who have battled Crohn’s: Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready who himself is working to raise awareness and Glenn Frey of the Eagles who recently died from the disease.

“Unfortunately Crohn’s and colitis IBD are diseases that are not focused upon as much as cancer and heart disease,” Ellison said. “But there are many people suffering from these diseases and we really need to find a cure because the numbers are increasing.”


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