Famous people with Crohn’s – it’s an extremely popular topic on many IBD related sites. I think there are a number of reasons for this, but the first and foremost is a little dark – when someone famous gets “your” disease, chances are more attention will be paid to it, and that can only be positive – does that mean more money will be spent on finding a cure? Does that mean some of the stigma will be erased? Look at what Michael J. Fox has done for Parkinson’s. (I read one of his books btw, an inspiration for anyone with a medical condition.) What Pamela Anderson has done for hepatits. What a slew of other famous folks have done for a slew of cancers. You never want to wish a disease on anyone – but if you must, please oh please let that be a beloved and outspoken celebrity.
My Google search on Crohn’s this morning yielded this story, about a top draft pick at Alabama who found that he doesn’t have Crohn’s disease, though he thought he had since 9th grade. I’m happy for him that he doesn’t have it – and I’m glad that this story is shedding some light on the disease anyway.
Mayor of Boston Thomas Menino was diagnosed a few years ago, coincidentally a few months after I had been, and I believe at the same hospital. He didn’t go very public with it – I am not certain if he’s ever publicly confirmed it. I guess the stigma remains, even for the famous and powerful.
I think the most famous person who is outspoken about his Crohn’s is Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. He’s done a lot to spread awareness, and I wish there were more like him.