Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is Proud to Announce the 2020 AbbVie IBD Scholarship Recipients

Boy carrying Backpack
Scholars head back to class at Canadian post-secondary institutions with $5,000 scholarships

Toronto, ON – Sept. 8, 2020 – Crohn's and Colitis Canada awards 10 post-secondary students living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis with a one-time AbbVie IBD Scholarship, valued at $5,000, as they head back to class for the fall 2020 semester at a Canadian post-secondary institution. Recipients of the scholarship awarded through the AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program strive to maintain an optimal level of wellness while actively driving change in their communities, demonstrating academic aspiration, and inspiring their peers to fulfill their potential.

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease) are lifelong diseases that can be diagnosed at any age, but the typical age of onset is adolescence or early adulthood, the critical years for schooling and career growth. When someone develops one of these autoimmune diseases, their body begins to attack healthy tissue in their bowels, resulting in inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract. While each individual case is unique, severe abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue, internal bleeding, and the unpredictable and urgent need to use the washroom are the most common symptoms. There are no known cures for Crohn’s or colitis. If gone untreated, long-term consequences may lead to malnutrition, higher risk of cancer, and life-threatening complications.

"The recipients of the AbbVie IBD Scholarship are resilient, ambitious, and motivated individuals – true leaders in their communities. Living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can be stressful and disruptive to day-to-day life, affecting the ability to attend class or work to pay for post-secondary education. While studying and making a difference in their communities, these individuals have overcome the challenges that often come with these invisible diseases. They are an inspiration to all of us, demonstrating you can thrive and achieve your goals if you set your mind to it," said Mina Mawani, President and CEO of Crohn's and Colitis Canada. "We're proud to collaborate with patient-focused partners like AbbVie to highlight the accomplishments and stories of these bright and inspirational individuals, and to support them in bringing their academic and career goals to fruition."

Since 2012, the AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program, made possible by an educational grant provided by AbbVie Canada, has awarded one-time $5,000 scholarships to 89 students living with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. To date, the program's total financial contribution sits at $445,000. 

“Too many students with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are forced to delay completing post-secondary education as a result of their disease,” said Denis Hello, Vice President and General Manager of AbbVie Canada. “We’re proud to partner with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada on this worthy initiative, as we hope it will ease some of the financial burden on young Canadians with IBD so they can focus on their studies and live their lives to the fullest."

Crohn's and Colitis Canada congratulates the 2020 AbbVie IBD Scholarship recipients

• Ann Weber – University of Manitoba
• Carlie Thompson – Concordia University
• David Pugh – York University
• Dennis Drewnik – University of Manitoba
• Isabelle Rochette – Université de Montréal
• Kate Latos – University of Alberta
• Lisa MacNeil – Acadia University
• Simona Perrotti – McMaster University
• Sophie LeBlanc – University of New Brunswick
• Vanessa Reali – University of Toronto 

To learn more about the AbbVie IBD Scholarship program and the 2020 scholarship recipients, please visit

About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is on a relentless journey to find the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improve the lives of children and adults affected by these chronic diseases. We are the country’s largest volunteer-based organization with this mission and are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, investing over $135 million in research to date. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn’s and colitis through research, patient programs, advocacy, and awareness. For more information, visit and follow us @getgutsycanada on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About AbbVie

We’re a company that takes on the toughest health challenges. 

AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at and Follow @abbviecanada on Twitter or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact: 

Stacey Sheehan 
Marketing and Communications Coordinator 
Crohn's and Colitis Canada 
416-920-5035 ext. 243

Gabrielle Poirier
Account Coordinator
Smithcom Limited

  • 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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