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Casey Abrams Announces Finalists in National Inflammatory Bowel Disease Awareness Campaign and Calls on America to Vote
After opening up about his own battle with Ulcerative Colitis, season 10 American Idol contestant Casey Abrams pledges to shave his signature beard if 1,500 people join the cause at IBDIcons.com

Horsham PA, (September 29, 2011) – Season 10 American Idol contestant Casey Abrams has announced the top finalists in the national awareness campaign, IBD Icons, which celebrates the courage and persistence of those living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and encourages them to never give in to their condition. Casey is asking Americans to vote for the two stories they find most inspiring at www.IBDIcons.com to help raise awareness and research funding for IBD.

Diagnosed two years ago with ulcerative colitis (UC), Casey is using his time in the spotlight to shed light on IBD, which includes the chronic and unpredictable lifelong digestive diseases UC and Crohn’s disease. IBD affects 1.4 million Americans and can cause diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, blood loss, weight loss, and fatigue. Despite a stress-induced UC flare while on American Idol, Casey went on to finish in sixth place on Season 10 and recently wrapped up the 2011 summer tour.

“People know me and what I went through with my UC because I was on TV, but the people I’ve met through IBD Icons deserve the spotlight. Their stories truly inspire me and I’m proud to be part of a program that is recognizing others who haven’t let IBD hold them back,” said Casey. “I’ve asked for your votes before, but this time it’s for a cause closer to my heart. I encourage everyone to check out the finalists and cast your vote today.”

For every vote, program sponsor Janssen Biotech, Inc., will make a donation to program partner the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), the leading national nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for IBD. As a new addition to the program, Casey has pledged to shave his signature beard if 1,500 people join the IBD Icons fan club at the www.IBDIcons.com site by the close of voting on November 1 and Janssen Biotech will double its donation to CCFA.

Hundreds of people with IBD submitted their personal stories for a chance to be named an IBD Icon and win a trip to see Casey perform in Las Vegas at the Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & ½ Marathon to benefit CCFA in December. Casey and a panel of judges from CCFA selected the finalists based on the originality of their story, how they are living beyond IBD and their passion in encouraging others to reach their personal goals. Two winners – one with UC and one with Crohn’s disease – will be named the 2011 IBD Icons based on America’s vote.  The finalists include:

  • Ally, Vernon Hills, IL (Crohn’s)
  • Antonio, Lithonia, GA (Crohn’s)
  • Doug, Glendale, CA (Crohn’s)
  • Elaine, McLean, VA (Crohn’s)
  • KerriAnn, Canton, MA (Crohn’s)
  • Alicia, Ladera Ranch, CA (UC)
  • Danielle, Parachute, CO (UC)
  • Katie, Kansas City, MO (UC)
  • Todd, Ocean Township, NJ (UC)

“We were blown away by the stories we received from the IBD community. Choosing only nine finalists was very difficult, and we want to thank everyone who entered and encourage them to keep living their dream,” said Kimberly Frederick, LCSW, MSW, Senior Vice President of Mission, CCFA. “We are excited to announce the finalists today and hope their stories will inspire others struggling with IBD to challenge themselves to live beyond IBD in pursuit of their goals.”
Voting is open to all U.S. citizens at www.IBDIcons.com now through November 1st 11:59 p.m. EST.  Visit www.IBDIcons.com to learn more about the finalists and to view full voting rules and regulations.

Casey Abrams was compensated by Janssen Biotech, Inc. for his time in preparing for and participating in IBD Icons.

About Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, with the incidence evenly split between ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. IBD affects men and women equally and can strike at any age. While both inflammatory bowel diseases have similar symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue, Crohn's disease can infect any part of the GI tract, whereas ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon. Although considerable progress has been made in IBD research, investigators do not yet know what causes IBD. There is currently no medical cure for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)   is the largest voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to finding a cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). CCFA’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 works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public and furnishing supportive services for people with IBD.  For more information, visit.ccfa.org, call 888-694-8872, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Janssen Biotech, Inc.
Janssen Biotech, Inc. redefines the standard of care in immunology, oncology, urology and nephrology. Built upon a rich legacy of innovative firsts, Janssen Biotech has delivered on the promise of new treatments and ways to improve the health of individuals with serious disease. Beyond its innovative medicines, Janssen Biotech is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates and health care professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services and quality care. For more information on Janssen Biotech, Inc. or its products, visit www.janssenbiotech.com.

Janssen Biotech is one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies dedicated to addressing and solving some of the most important unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Driven by our commitment to patients, we work together to bring innovative ideas, products, services and solutions to people throughout the world.  Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JanssenUS.

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Media Contact:
Linda Davis, Janssen Biotech, Inc.
Phone: 215-325-3562
Mobile : 215-272-8787
Email: ldavis9@its.jnj.com