Ahead of the 2019 AbbVie IBD Scholarship deadline, we’re catching up with our past recipients to learn about the cool initiatives they’re involved in around the Crohn’s and colitis community.
Emma Moore received the AbbVie IBD Scholarship in 2018. This May, she will graduate from the University of Prince Edward Island with a Bachelor’s of Science with Honours in Biology and Minor in Psychology. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy.
She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in her freshman year after experiencing worsening symptoms, and chose to use the diagnosis as a catalyst for pursuing her passion in cross-country, completing her undergraduate degree, and becoming more involved in the IBD community.
What have you done or are currently doing with the Crohn’s and colitis community?
Since January 2018, I have been an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada GoHere Washroom Access Program. This initiative aims to improve washroom access across the nation for those living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, freeing these individuals from the anxiety of finding washrooms in times of urgency and allowing them to live more active, productive lifestyles.
My role involves approaching local businesses to see if they would be willing to make their washrooms available to those that need them. If they are interested in participating in the program, their location gets added to the GoHere Washroom Locator App, and they are given a decal to place on their storefront window. I was the first person to bring the initiative to Prince Edward Island, and have been able to sign on more than 15 businesses, including all Sobeys across the province.
Islanders quickly became interested in the initiative, which harnessed the attraction of local media stations. CBC contacted me, and I have since completed two interviews with them. Becoming involved with the initiative has allowed me to spread awareness about Crohn’s and colitis and help create a community that is empathetic and understanding of individuals living with these chronic diseases.
How has receiving the AbbVie IBD Scholarship impacted your journey through school?
The AbbVie IBD Scholarship has had an immense impact on my undergraduate student experience. I received the scholarship going into my fourth year of studies and, because of the financial aid, I did not have to work my usual part-time job throughout the school year. In the extra time I gained, I focused on my varsity cross-country and track and field training in addition to completing my Honours degree in Biology.
Focusing on my varsity training enabled me to improve tremendously, and I will be able to continue running competitively while I complete my Master’s degree. Academically, the completion of my Honours degree in Biology allowed me to gain valuable research experience, become more independent, and improve my problem-solving and teamwork skills. I am so thankful the AbbVie IBD Scholarship enabled me to do these things!
What advice do you have for students who are thinking of applying for the scholarship?
You never know until you try (and try again)!
I applied for the AbbVie IBD Scholarship three times before I was successful. In each year I was unsuccessful, I distinctly remember reading through the biographies of all the scholarship recipients. I was in awe of how they were all successfully effecting change in their communities despite their chronic illness. These were incredible individuals—warriors fighting against their disease and future leaders! They inspired me to work harder and rise above my own diagnosis. I pushed myself to become more active in my community, dedicate myself to school, and challenge myself through sport.
Three years and three applications later, I became one of those individuals I always admired; but things would have turned out much differently if I had have given up after my first unsuccessful application.
So, to all of the students thinking of applying—please do. And if you don’t get the scholarship this time around, use it as a catalyst for personal growth and try again next year!
To learn more about the AbbVie IBD Scholarship and submit your application, click here.