Scholarships bring representation and hope

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Being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease can mean an identity shift – especially when you are diagnosed at 20, like Taylor Morganstein. Already in post- secondary school and nearing the end of her BSc in Science, Taylor recognized her symptoms being described in a lecture about Crohn’s, which helped her follow up with her doctor for a diagnosis.

“Finding out I had Crohn’s meant I had to shift how I approached school; I couldn’t just rely on my own personal abilities. Suddenly I was a person with a disease - I had to vouch and fight for accommodations. I had to be brave and believe in what I deserved to equal the playing field, especially when it came to missing large amounts of school because of my symptoms. It felt like it was a constant conversation.”

In 2022, Taylor was one of fifteen students awarded the AbbVie IBD Scholarship. The funds helped Taylor pay for half her tuition for the first year of medical school, but the reward was so much more than financial.

I was so grateful that the challenges I faced with my disease and school were recognized – it was a ray of sunshine. Sometimes you feel like school or certain career pathways aren’t available to you because of your disease. Being able to meet this community of young people was amazing – I’ve made some great friends, and I was inspired to see all the paths we’re following.”

- Taylor Morganstein

The award has opened many other opportunities, including authorship in a scientific journal, and being invited to join a research group as a patient researcher. Taylor has many more years of school and training in her future as a physician, and while she has decided not to pursue gastroenterology – “it’s a little too close to home” – she hopes she can bring her experiences as a student with Crohn’s to her future patients.

“Representation is so important – receiving this scholarship was a recognition of this disease and gave me hope. As a physician, I want to bring that same hope and representation to my patients,to treat them with empathy and understanding, because I know what its like to live with a disease.”

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The AbbVie IBD Scholarship fund awards $5,000 to fifteen inspiring students attending a Canadian post-secondary institution for the upcoming fall semester. The program helps alleviate financial barriers, enabling students to spend more time on their studies, pursue their passions, and get involved with causes close to their hearts. About 125 students have benefited from this award since its inception in 2012.

As of 2022, one deserving recipient of the AbbVie IBD Scholarship is also awarded the $5,000 Clinton Shard Memorial Scholarship which honours the memory and impact of Clinton Shard, a 2012 AbbVie IBD Scholarship recipient who made significant contributions to the inflammatory bowel disease community.

Learn how Crohn's and Colitis Canada is helping Children overcome the stigma of IBD, create new friendships and give them time to enjoy their childhoods >

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 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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