July 25, 2011

American Idol Contestant Casey Abrams Launches Nationwide Contest to Raise Awareness About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

HORSHAM, Pa., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- American Idol contestant Casey Abrams is launching a national disease awareness campaign, IBD Icons, to let people know that living with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) does not have to stop them from pursuing their dreams. Starting today, people living with IBD will have the opportunity to share how they are achieving their personal goals despite the challenges of their disease at www.IBDIcons.com for a chance to win the title of "IBD Icon".

Sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc., in partnership with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, IBD Icons brings Casey's personal experience with ulcerative colitis (UC) to the public forefront in an effort to raise awareness of IBD. IBD includes the chronic digestive diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which combined affect 1.4 million Americans. Despite his diagnosis and struggle with UC, Casey finished in sixth place on season 10 of American Idol and earned a coveted spot on the 2011 summer tour.

When Casey received his UC diagnosis nearly two years ago, he was concerned about how he would manage the disease and still pursue his passion for music.

"When I was diagnosed with UC in college, I was scared that I wouldn't be able to balance my health and my music. I could barely find the energy to walk to class, let alone carry a bass around campus," said Casey. "But I decided UC was just an obstacle I had to rise above in order to pursue making music. I want to let people know that if you stay positive and have the courage to ask for the help you need early on, anyone can live beyond this disease."

Through IBD Icons, Janssen Biotech will partner with the national patient advocacy organization the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) to recognize patients with IBD who, like Casey, are striving to live beyond their disease. US citizens, age eighteen and older who are diagnosed with UC or Crohn's disease, are encouraged to submit their story showcasing how they've been able to pursue their dreams despite their disease now through August 26, 2011 at www.IBDIcons.com. Six finalists - three who have UC and three who have Crohn's disease - will be selected by a panel of judges and announced online this fall, at which time the public can vote for the finalist they find most inspiring. For every vote, Janssen Biotech, Inc. will make a donation to CCFA in support of IBD research and education.

"We are excited to be part of a campaign that celebrates individuals with IBD who have risen above their disease in pursuit of their full potential," said Kimberly Frederick, LCSW, MSW, Senior Vice President of Mission, CCFA. "It is our hope that the stories of these finalists will inspire others who may be struggling with their diagnosis or symptoms and give them the courage to live beyond IBD."

After a national vote, one finalist with UC and one with Crohn's disease will be named the 2011 IBD Icons and win a trip to the Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon on December 4, 2011 to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, where Casey Abrams will perform.

Casey encourages everyone living with IBD who is pursuing their dreams to enter for the chance to be named an IBD Icon at www.IBDIcons.com, or register for the fan club to receive program updates. Full contest rules and regulations can be found at www.IBDIcons.com.

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'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 going 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 http://www.ccfa.org. Join CCFA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ccfafb and follow CCFA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ccfa.

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.

SOURCE Janssen Biotech, Inc.