Pallone Introduces Legislation to Create Postal Stamp Promoting Awareness of Crohn's Disease

May 26, 2006

Washington, D.C. --- Inspired by a young man named Gideon Sofer from Highland Park who is fighting Crohn's disease, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) yesterday introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives expressing the sense of Congress that a commemorative postage stamp should be issued to promote public awareness of Crohn's disease.  

 

"Despite having a devastating affect on the lives of so many Americans, Crohn's disease is often misdiagnosed and there is still no known cause or cure," Pallone said. "It is my hope that a postage stamp will increase awareness and educate the public and the medical community about this debilitating disease."

 

Pallone's legislation was introduced on the same day that Gideon met with the U.S. Postmaster General, John Potter, in Washington, D.C. to encourage the creation of a Crohn's disease stamp.  The meeting was set up as the result of a wish grated to Gideon through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  While in Washington, Gideon also met with Pallone to discuss his legislation.

 

Crohn's disease, also referred to as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), is a chronic and painful intestinal disorder that affects an estimated one million Americans. Pallone became involved in the IBD awareness campaign several years ago after receiving a letter from and meeting with Gideon. Gideon told the congressman how it took several years for doctors to properly diagnose his condition and how little is really known about the disease.

 

Gideon went on to found the IBD Cure Foundation, an organization that is working to raise awareness of Crohn's disease. Through the foundation Gideon, now a student the University of California-Berkeley, has gathered thousands of signatures in an online petition to the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee in support of the stamp. 

 

"I thought about the breast cancer, HIV, and other awareness stamps that had been issued," Gideon writes on his website. "I thought to myself at that very moment, maybe one day, there could be a Crohn's stamp."

 

"Gideon's story is truly inspiring," said Pallone. "He refuses to allow this disease to get him down and strives make a difference in the world and to improve the quality of life for the many people affected by Crohn's disease."

 

Crohn's disease is believed to be an autoimmune disorder caused when a person's immune system is unable to recognize certain proteins. The result is a severely inflamed digestive tract as the immune system fights off what it sees as abnormal proteins. Current evidence suggests that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of Crohn's disease, but there is still no known cause or cure.

 

Crohn's disease is thought to affect 1 million Americans, including approximately 100,000 children under the age of 18.  It has been detected in infants as young as 18 months and in adults over the age of 50. Two-thirds to three-quarters of children diagnosed with Crohn's disease will require one or more operations and many will experience stunted growth.

 

Gideon Sofer may be contacted for comment at 732-266-3971 or gideon@berkeley.edu.