Deliver Your News to the World

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Of America And ConvaTec Announce 2005 Great Comebacks Recipients


21st Annual Awards Recognize Achievements of IBD and Ostomy Patients

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (November 18, 2005) -- The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and ConvaTec, the world’s leading ostomy manufacturer and a leading wound care company, today announced the 2005 recipients of the 21st Annual Great Comebacks Awards. The awards recognize the achievements of people who have prevailed over debilitating intestinal diseases, serving as inspiration for other patients facing similar challenges.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans are affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)1, a collective term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and approximately 750,000 Americans are living with an ostomy due to either IBD, colorectal cancer or other chronic bowel or bladder diseases.2

* The Great Comebacks program, begun in 1984 by former San Diego Charger and ulcerative colitis patient Rolf Benirschke, honors the following recipients this year: 2005 Great Comebacks Award: Rick Ellison, 32, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
* Ina Brudnick Scholarship Award: Teresa Dvorak, 24, of Decatur, Texas
* Honorary Great Comebacks Award: Robert Hill, 35, of Vancouver, British ColumbiaMore About This Year’s Winners
Rick Ellison is an ulcerative colitis patient and former collegiate wrestler who strives to “instill a sense of courage that anything is possible after IBD.” In Ellison’s case, this has included marrying his college sweetheart and having two children, as well as returning to athletics, competing in marathons and triathlons, while working as a training specialist for Gulfstream Aerospace.

“To me, the true definition of a comeback is more than getting back on your own feet again - it’s about helping others learn what you have learned,” Ellison said. “Getting well is useless unless you can share your lessons learned, and I hope that my story will give hope and encouragement to other patients.”

The 2005 recipient of the Ina Brudnick Scholarship Award, presented to a deserving student who is pursuing higher education, is 24-year-old Teresa Dvorak of Decatur, Texas.

Dvorak was already in nursing school when complications from ulcerative colitis sent her to the hospital for emergency surgery. Now, she intends to specialize as an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse, drawing on her personal experience to help patients. Dvorak explained, “I want to help people to know that you don’t have to rearrange your goals and dreams because you have an ostomy.”

This year, the Great Comebacks program also recognizes an honorary recipient, 35-year-old Robert Hill of Vancouver, British Columbia. Hill is the founder of the Intestinal Diseases Education and Awareness Society of North America (IDEAS) and is currently mid-way through a projected five-year campaign which he calls “No Guts -- Know Glory!” to become the first Crohn’s patient and ostomate to climb the Seven Summits, or the highest peaks on all seven continents.

To date, Hill has successfully scaled four of the seven summits -- most recently conquering Alaska’s Denali, or Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America in June of this year. His honorary Great Comebacks Award is in recognition of this achievement and for his dedication to intestinal disease awareness and education.

“By taking on the Seven Summits, I hope to get the message to people who are suffering from Crohn’s or colitis, that, although you might have these diseases or an ostomy, you shouldn’t let it define you. Don’t let it hold you back from what you want to do,” Hill said.

“Rick, Teresa, and Rob are inspiring examples of young people who, despite serious setbacks, have prevailed in their personal quests to live life to the fullest,” added Rolf Benirschke, chairman of the Great Comebacks Committee. “By sharing their stories, they provide hope and encouragement to the thousands of patients and their families who are facing the challenges of living with these diseases every day - that’s the purpose of the Great Comebacks program.”

CCFA and ConvaTec Announce 2006 Program Expansion
The 2005 Great Comebacks recipients were recognized at CCFA’s Annual Meeting, held in New York City on November 19, 2005, where organizers also announced plans to expand the program in 2006.

Beginning next year, the Great Comebacks program will recognize five regional recipients. Each recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the awards ceremony and $500 spending money. In addition, the program will add a new young person’s category -- called the Comeback Kids -- recognizing three individuals between the ages of seven and 17 who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer or an ostomy.

“Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful conditions which affect patients and their families in ways that are both physically and mentally draining,” said Mark Goldman, Chair of the Board, CCFA. “We are pleased to be expanding our Great Comebacks partnership with ConvaTec to reach more patients, caregivers and families with important messages of hope and encouragement.”

“Throughout more than 20 years of Great Comebacks, we have shared CCFA’s commitment to those afflicted with IBD and colorectal cancer,” added Gary Restani, president of ConvaTec. “Each of these individuals is an inspiring example of living life to the fullest. At ConvaTec, they are also the heroes that inspire us to develop new and innovative products for the enrichment of life after ostomy.”

For more information on Great Comebacks, visit

About ConvaTec
ConvaTec is the world leader in ostomy care, and a leader in wound therapeutics, products and product-related services with a 25-year heritage of caring about patients. ConvaTec is a Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Bristol- Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and related health care company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life. For more information, call ConvaTec at 800-422-8811 or visit

About CCFA
Founded in 1967, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), Inc. is the only national non-profit health foundation dedicated to finding the cause of, and cure for, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis -- also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These painful, chronic illnesses affect approximately 1.4 million Americans, including some 150,000 children under the age of 18. Each year more than 80 cents of every dollar CCFA spends goes directly into research and education programs. To learn more about the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc., call 800-932-2423 or go to CCFA is a 501(c)(3) organization, Federal Tax I.D. 13-6193105.

2 Ostomy Wound Manage. 2004 Sep;50(9):6-7


This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.

News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.