Our mission at LifeWithCrohnsColitis.org is to ensure that patients living with Crohns and Colitis, as well as their caregivers, family, and friends, have a safe and supportive place to connect with others like them.
LifeWithCrohnsColitis.org is part of Ben’s Friends, a network of safe and supportive patient communities for anyone affected by a rare disease or chronic condition. Recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Ben’s Friends is a grassroots organization run by patients for patients. It is not a top-down, “expert advice” experience but a community offering peer to peer support. The value of this approach is evidenced by our hundred volunteer moderators, who are either patients themselves or relatives of patients, who believe in the mission and are willing to invest their time and share the knowledge and insights they have gained with members arriving daily in need of help. Ben’s Friends considers the patient perspective in everything we do.
Focused on Patient Support
There are some amazing non-profit organizations all around the world doing fantastic work to raise awareness, raise money, and provide medical information to patients, friends, and family. We decided to complement their work, rather then duplicate. Therefore, we chose to concentrate all of our efforts on learning how to create and run compassionate, responsive patient communities.
Our communities have proved a valuable guide for members seeking to understand their diagnosis, symptoms, and their treatment options. Ben’s Friends provides a friendly environment that allows for bonding. Many a lifelong friendship has been forged on our communities. But most of all, Ben’s Friends is successful because it changes our members’ relationships with their disease. “I have the disease; it doesn’t have me” is a mantra often repeated by members, as they gently guide each other toward effective coping mechanisms and enable our patients to live the fullest lives possible.
Why Rare Diseases?
Global Genes reports that 350 million people worldwide suffer from a rare disease, with an estimated 30 million in the U.S. and an additional 30 million in Europe. So, while each separate disease is rare, being a rare disease patient is not. In fact, 10% of the population in the U.S. is living with a rare disease. There are over 7,000 types of rare diseases, from the extremely rare (only a few documented cases worldwide) to the “common” rare diseases (about 350 conditions, covering 85% of rare disease patients). When factoring in patients with chronic conditions, which may need the same type of emotional support and community fellowship as rare disease patients, the demand for online patient support communities is limitless and bounded only by our own resource constraints and capacity.
Want to learn more about Crohn’s and Colitis disease?
Is your family or friend affected with Crohn’s or Colitis?
What kind of disease is this? What food diet fits Crohn’s or Colitis patients?
Visit Crohn’s/Colitis 101
Read about what causes Crohn’s/Colitis disease, who gets Crohn’s, and how can one cope with the chronic condition
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Ben Munoz – October 31, 2019 When we recently asked our moderators what they love about their role, we got a variety of reactions. Not surprising: each of our “mods” does their job in their own way! Some are very active in the conversation, and others take a more hands-off approach, intervening only when there might be a problem. We think […]
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Ben Munoz – November 1, 2019 I remember talking, not so long ago, with one of our AVM veterans. He has been battling this disease for 41 years now. When it was first discovered no one within 500 miles knew what it even was, let alone how to treat it. He says that it was a very scary time. Not only because of major surgery as an 8th grader but […]
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Clasina Field – November 1, 2019 You must be wondering what Seenie has been doing these days. Well, I’ve been building our Google Classrooms and library where our Moderators and Interns will be able to learn the skills and tricks of the Moderator Trade. Right now, I’m about to stock our library with reading material and things like Slide […]
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Ben Munoz – November 9, 2019 John Stamler, Ben’s Friends’ treasurer and a rare disease survivor himself, had a conversation with Garry Turner in the Episode 81 of Value through Vulnerability podcast. John shared his inspiring work as a mentor to startups and his admiration for the entrepreneurs he works with who are so passionate about what […]