Crunching their way to heightened IBD awareness… and $10,000

Mona Segal and Brian Strasser

The sometimes invisible nature of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis make it difficult to explain how the diseases can affect someone. Asking someone to help people who have a disease they barely understand adds another challenge into the mix. But Mona Segal, a volunteer in Montreal who lives with Crohn’s, has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Along with her husband, Brian Strasser, she thought of a novel way to help spread awareness of inflammatory bowel disease, and raise some funds along the way. Doing a big set of crunches can leave you feeling a burn in your gut – something similar to the pain people with Crohn’s or colitis can feel when they’re going through a flare-up.

When January rolled around, Mona and Brian realized that it would be the time of year when people are looking to add more fitness into their lives, so why not combine fitness with awareness? They created the “Crunches for Crohn’s and Colitis” campaign, and asked friends and colleagues to follow three simple steps:

  1. Take a video or photo of yourself doing crunches until you feel it in your gut
  2. Make a donation to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
  3. Nominate someone else to do the same
Mona and Brian unleashed their video, tagged their friends, and soon people from all across Canada were joining in, posting their own videos and bringing more people into the campaign. Brian and Mona were also featured on Global News Morning Montreal and in The Suburban.

From the tiny crunches of @Jillruiznelson’s family to fitness fanatic @Flaredupfitness who took crunchin to the next level, people rose to the challenge, and Mona and Brian surpassed their goal of raising $10,000.

We want to give a deserved thank you to Mona and Brian for their work on the Crunches for Crohn’s and Colitis campaign. Amazing work, you two!

To find more videos from the campaign, search #crunchesforcrohnsandcolitis on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • 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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