Celebrating 10 Years of Student Success

Veronica Slade
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program, and we are celebrating the milestone year by doubling the number of available scholarships, which means 20 amazing post-secondary students will receive a $5,000 scholarship for the upcoming fall 2021 semester. 

Ahead of the 2021 AbbVie IBD Scholarship deadline, we reconnected with recipients from the past ten years. Read on to see what an extraordinary 2017 scholarship recipient has to say about why they applied and tips for academic success!


Meet Veronica Slade.

Veronica is a member of the sixth class of inspiring and ambitious AbbVie IBD Scholarship recipients with a passion for giving back to their community. She received the scholarship in 2017 while completing her third year of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree at the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her decision to pursue a degree in social work stemmed from her own experiences and employment in the fields of youth care work and early childhood education. After completing her degree, Veronica moved back to her hometown of Saskatoon where she works as a registered social worker with the Ministry of Social Services Disability Program. Compassionate and kind-hearted, Veronica works with individuals, families and organizations to ensure members of the community can access services that help improve quality of life. 

We chatted with Veronica to learn about her involvement with the IBD community, the role the scholarship played in supporting her post-secondary education, tips for applying, and her advice for students as they complete their degree while taking on IBD. 

Here’s what Veronica had to share: 

What have you done or are currently doing with the Crohn’s and colitis community?

“I relocated the year after my surgery from Regina to Saskatoon and joined the Saskatoon Chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada where I began to volunteer at events. Soon after, I attended my first meeting with the Saskatoon Ostomy Association. As I was the youngest attendee, I hoped to connect with other young ostomates that I could relate with. As nothing like this existed in my city, I began advertising to create my own support group a few months later at an educational day event and in medical supply stores. Those interested slowly trickled in, and in January 2018, the Young Ostomates Support and Friendship Group (YOS+FG) officially formed. We are now up to almost 20 group members and have ongoing sponsorship for our meetings. Six months after joining the Ostomy Association, I was voted in as Vice President and Visitation Coordinator. I have maintained these positions ever since, and I have worked to re-vamp the visitation program, mentor others before surgery, and train others to become Ostomy Canada certified visitors.”

How has receiving the AbbVie IBD Scholarship affected your journey through school?

“Receiving the AbbVie IBD Scholarship allowed me to pay for my final semester of my social work degree in full. Shortly after graduating, I was scheduled for my second surgery and I had to put starting my career on hold. The scholarship allowed me to have less student loans to repay, which alleviated financial stress during and after the semester. It was a proud moment to win this as I entered my practicum semester – the final step before earning my degree.” 

What advice do you have for students who are thinking of applying for the scholarship? 

“It takes some work to complete the application, but it can be worth it! Make sure to be mindful of application deadlines, and do not get discouraged if you do not receive the scholarship. You can always try again the following year. I was awarded it on my third year applying!”

What are your tips for students living with IBD as they pursue higher education?

“It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. These diseases can mean you are a student who needs extra rest! Do not be embarrassed to ask for accommodations if needed, and remember to set realistic expectations for yourself. A reduced course load may be necessary when dealing with flare-ups or medication changes. Do not compare yourself to other students that do not have a chronic illness affecting their health. It can be helpful to connect with others via your local Crohn's and Colitis Canada chapter to lessen feelings of struggling alone. Lastly, remember the big picture. In the end, a missed or late assignment or even a failed course or semester will not determine your career outcomes. Your health has to come first!”  

If you are heading back to class for the fall 2021 semester, we encourage you to take the time to submit your application today for the chance to head back to class with a bit of extra cash! The deadline to apply is 11:59 pm ET on June 1st, 2021.

To learn more about the AbbVie IBD Scholarship and submit your application, click here

Do you have questions? Reach out to us at info@ibdscholarship.ca.

  • 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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