By Mike Cohen
As Canada grapples with some of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the world (one out of 140 people) individuals, businesses, and researchers from across Montreal will come together in a show of support for everyone impacted by these chronic diseases. The 17th annual Gala for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada will take place on Sunday, April 14 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Quai of the Port of Montreal (200 de la Commune St. W.) One Canadian is diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) every hour.
This year’s honourees will be the Dedes Family and Dr. Gad Friedman, a gastroenterologist at the Jewish General Hospital. The Que Sera Trio will provide music during the cocktail dînatoire featuring food stations from some of Montreal’s finest restaurants including, Moishes, Joe Beef, La Sirène de la Mer, Falafel St. Jacques, Java U, Burger Bar Crescent, Le Bremner, Grumman’78, Montreal Plaza, Tavern on the Square, Christinas Cuisine, Soupe Café and more. The featured performer will be circus artist Anouk Vallée-Charest. A live auction, hosted by Virgin Radio’s Lee Haberkorn and a dessert reception will follow.
Proceeds from the Gala will fund transformative research, patient programs as well as local support and education programs offered by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Tickets are $225 per person and can be purchased online at www.crohnsandcolitis.ca/montrealgala or by calling 514-342-0666 #201 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Last year’s event raised over $300,000, bringing the grand total to $3 million since its inception in support of research, patient programs, building awareness and advocating patient community rights.
Dr. Friedman has been a member of the Division of Gastroenterology of the Jewish General Hospital and Associate Professor at McGill University for over 20 years. He completed his Gastroenterology fellowship at McGill University and then did a fellowship in Interventional endoscopy. “As an advanced endoscopist, I am proud to have been able to introduce specialized techniques to our hospital such as the removal of large colon polyps and common bile duct stones that reduced the need for surgery,” he said. “Performing complex endoscopy was my first love, but over the years I increasingly take great pleasure in caring for a wide variety of patients. I have focused on taking care of the whole person paying attention to both their mental and physical health.”
As part of improving patient care for his IBD patients, Dr. Friedman has begun training in the use of intestinal ultrasound in IBD. He has been hoping that this will speed patient care and reduce the number of scans and colonoscopies performed.
“My true love is teaching,” said Dr. Friedman. “I teach fellows, residents, students and nurses. I created an accredited McGill-wide nurses education program in gastroenterology that is the only one of its kind in Quebec, now in its eighth year. Through this education program, the nurses’ knowledge of gastroenterology has improved tremendously ultimately leading them to have a greater positive impact on patient care. The aspect of my job I love the most is teaching my patients. My firm belief is that enhanced knowledge empowers patients to take control of their health. “
In order to help his patients, Dr. Friedman created a patient-oriented web site (www.ourdigestivehealth.com) that helps patients better understand their digestive system and some of the common symptoms they face. It helps them prepare better for their procedures and reduces their anxiety.
The event co-chairs are Erin Battat, Adelia Bensoussan, Marian Sniatowsky and Shari Wolch. Committee Members are: Gloria Beitchman, Alexandra Brown, Nadia Canini, Parker Donaldson, Farrol Durosel, Rina Fisher, Deborah Groper, Dylan Groper, Joyce Isaac, Brooke Levis, Reesa Levis, Francesca Marzano, Marouane Ouhnana, Mona Roshke, Ashley Rotchin, Diane Roy and Emily Sheiner.
About Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that inflame the lining of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and disrupt the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste in a healthy manner. As a result, people with Crohn’s or colitis can experience abdominal pain, cramping, gas, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea (possibly bloody), and weight loss. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).