Glendale resident Doug Yakich was recently named one of two winners in a national awareness campaign for inflammatory bowel diseases, telling his story of living with Crohn’s disease.
The face and voice of the campaign, called IBD Icons, is “American idol” finalist Casey Abrams, who recognized Yakich during a recent concert in Las Vegas.
Abrams said he used to keep quiet about his bouts with ulcerative colitis.
“There was a time in my life when I didn’t want to talk to anyone about inflammatory bowel diseases, not even my doctor,” Abrams wrote on the IBD Icons website.
“Suffering through a flare-up during ‘American Idol’ was overwhelming, but it was just the motivation I needed to open up about living with ulcerative colitis,” wrote the season 10 finalist.
Various inflammatory bowel diseases affect about 1.4 million Americans, according to statistics on the IBD Icons website.
In his essay, Yakich said he never lets the disease get the better of him.
“I will never allow Crohn’s disease to define me. I have never allowed it to change who I am or what I believe,” he wrote. “Instead of ICON, I prefer I Can!.”
Yakich, who is married and has a daughter, thanked his wife in the essay for standing by him through four surgeries.
He also gave some advice to others living with IBDs.
“You cannot give up; You cannot give in; You can live with this disease; You can grow with this disease; You can beat this disease! You can because I can!,” he wrote in his essay’s conclusion.
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