ATLANTA, Nov. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week ( December 1-7), UCB, Inc. is directing a national effort to educate the public about Crohn's disease and inspire those living with the condition to speak out about it. The campaign will hinge on real stories from real people succeeding in the face of Crohn's disease, adding clarity to a misunderstood condition while providing a platform for Crohn's patients to engage and draw support from one another. Joining the cause are a diverse group of public figures who live with the condition – including Olympic kayaker Carrie Johnson and guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning band Pearl Jam Mike McCready – as well as everyday heroes like Lois Fink, co-founder of the IBD and Ostomy Awareness Ribbon, and Crohn's Advocates Cindy W., a community volunteer, and Ray C., a race car driver. December 1-7 was designated Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Week in 2011 by the U.S. Congress[i] to educate the public about Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, two painful Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) that affect 1.4 million Americans. Approximately half of the people with IBD have Crohn's disease, a chronic disorder that can be extremely painful and difficult to diagnose and treat. [ii] Crohn's disease can take an emotional toll in addition to its physical symptoms. Tasks like working, running errands, traveling and maintaining social or romantic relationships can often present a challenge. Due to the persistent stigmas surrounding Crohn's disease, people living with the condition can experience feelings of embarrassment, confusion, frustration and isolation. "Learning I had Crohn's disease was overwhelming at first, and I felt isolated by how little I knew about the condition and the affects it would have on my life. By educating myself and reaching out to people succeeding with Crohn's disease, I quickly reached the point where I could focus on the positive and live my life," said Johnson, who was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2003. "Awareness and education can be incredibly powerful. I want to show the world that by putting a name and a face on Crohn's disease, we can break down the isolating barriers and inspire hope in a better future."