Hit Series Actor Speaks Out to Lead Charge to Cure Digestive Diseases

'24' and 'Mentalist' Star, Gregory Itzin's Public Service Announcements Highlight Community-Based Awareness through Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Take Steps Walks

New York, NY — March 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Television celebrity Gregory Itzin, best known for his role as President Charles Logan on FOX's primetime drama '24,' recently donated his time to create a radio public service announcement (PSA) series on behalf of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to raise critical awareness for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The 60, 30, and 15 second PSAs will encourage Americans to register for one of over 100 Take Steps Walks this spring and summer, in communities around the country. Walkers will raise much-needed dollars for research into Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic, painful, and often debilitating digestive diseases. Collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn's and colitis afflict over 1.4 million American children and adults.

Itzin, also known as Virgil Minelli from CBS TV's 'The Mentalist,' understands the ups-and-downs of living with an incurable digestive disease because he has ulcerative colitis. In the PSAs, he explains the chronic and debilitating pain of Crohn's and colitis and the Foundation's mission to find a cure for these digestive diseases and improve the quality of life for patients. He goes on to urge listeners to join him to end the suffering by signing up for a Take Steps Walk.

"Fortunately I have this disease under control with a combination of diet and diligence, but there are so many Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients out there suffering every day," says Itzin. "Despite that, so few people openly talk about life with these digestive diseases. My goal is to end this silence—the more radio stations that play the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's new Take Steps Walk public service announcements, the more we will be heard and the more we can change lives."

The number of people with newly diagnosed IBD has exploded in recent years and there is no known cure. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation has defined the field of IBD research for nearly a half-century, enabling the best scientists to discover better therapies and ultimately, a cure. "The opportunity to take research to the next level has never been greater than right now," says Richard J. Geswell, President of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. "The funds raised by the thousands of people around the country who sign-up to participate in a Take Steps for Crohn's & Colitis Walk in 2010 will help us achieve this vision. We thank Mr. Itzin for giving his time and voice to raise awareness of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis."

In the past two years alone, over 75,000 Americans participated in Take Steps, raising over $13 million to help the Foundation fund research, education, and support initiatives. Visit www.cctakesteps.org today to find a Take Steps walk in your community.


About Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.


About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org). For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit www.ccfa.org. Join CCFA on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/supportccfa and follow CCFA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ccfa.


Media Contact:

Ariella Levine
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
646-943-7430