The need for more options: Len Fitch's story

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is conducting a nationwide education campaign underscoring that treatments for Crohn’s and colitis are not one-size-fits-all, and that Canadians living with these chronic diseases need more options. Len Fitch lives near Windsor, Ontario, and has lived with Crohn’s disease almost all his life. These are his words.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1974. At that time nobody really knew what it was. I dropped from 190 to 125 pounds and my dad thought I was dying. Specialists at Windsor Hospital couldn’t figure it out so dad shipped me to a friend in Detroit so I could see doctors there. Within two days they knew it was Crohn’s. 

After that I began a long road of treatment and have been through the gamut of medications. I’ve had surgery almost every five years since 1991 and have one foot of my large bowel left. With all this said – I’m 72 now and as healthy as an ox.

What has been instrumental to my good health now, and what will continue to be instrumental for kids into the future, is that we support the folks driving research and innovation. 

My background is in mechanics and I tend to think about things in a systematic way. I believe we find solutions to problems through trial and error. This was true for Henry Ford in 1902 when he was tasked with developing a car that could reach millions of people. And it’s true today for Elon Musk as he looks to occupy space on other planets. That may sound nuts but we move forward through experimentation. This is what makes things better for the next generation.

I’m a huge supporter of clinical trials and the introduction of new, safe medication. I’ve benefited from the innovation that’s occurred over the past 40 years and hope we keep up the pace in a safe and efficient way to ultimately find a cure for this disease. Life with Crohn’s is not what it used to be and for that I am thankful. With more new and innovative treatments, it can get even better.

For more information about treatments for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, click here.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 150 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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