I am living with a pain in the rear. Casey Abrams, a musician and American Idol alumnus, would say I am living with a “chip on my shoulder,” but I prefer to be as literal as possible. So yes, I live with a pain in the rear – along with about 1.4 million other Americans who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease – collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In advance of releasing his debut album today (June 26), Abrams created an original song, “Chip on Your Shoulder” and music video inspired by his personal experience with IBD and the people he met through the national disease awareness campaign IBD Icons. You can view Abram’s music video by joining the fan club at www.IBDIcons.com. For every fan who joins, a donation will be made to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), IBD Icons partner and the only national non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for IBD.
This is the second year in a row that Abrams is teaming up with Janssen Biotech (Horsham, Pennsylvania) in partnership with CCFA to raise awareness and celebrate the achievements of those living beyond IBD through IBD Icons. Abrams, who was diagnosed with UC three years ago, said he feels a heightened sense of responsibility to speak up about his disease. Despite his struggle with UC, he finished sixth on Season 10 of American Idol and signed a record deal with Concord Music Group.
“Music has always helped me get through difficult times, especially when I was first diagnosed with UC," Abrams said. "After meeting hundreds of people through IBD Icons, I was amazed by their drive and determination to not give in to this disease. I hope this song unites all of the IBD Icons fans in an effort to raise awareness and encourages others to get control of their disease so they can pursue their dreams."
For every fan who registers to view Abrams’ music video, Janssen said it will donate $1, up to $10,000, to CCFA in support of IBD research and education. In addition to Abrams’ music video, updates from the 2011 IBD Icons finalists and winners on their latest endeavors to raise awareness and inspire others are also featured on the site. The finalists were chosen by Abrams and a panel of CCFA judges from the hundreds of inspirational stories submitted by people pursuing their dreams despite the challenge of IBD. Two winners were announced in December after nearly 150,000 votes were cast.
It’s easy to understand how someone with IBD, or any chronic disease really, could relate to the lyrics of Abrams’ song. “Life can be a little bit colder, when you’re living with a chip on your shoulder.” I suppose “chip on your shoulder” rhymes better with “colder” and makes for a more pleasant lyric than “when you’re living with a pain in the rear.” I would have suggested “life can be a little unclear, when you’re living with a pain the rear,” but perhaps I should leave the song writing to the experts.
Next week I will share my personal IBD story as well as introduce you to an IBD friend of mine who has been doing great things to support other IBD patients and to raise money and awareness for CCFA.