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Pallone Introduces Legislation Instructing Postal Service to Isssue Stamp Promoting Awareness of Chrohn's Disease

June 17, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. --- Inspired by the story of a 16-year old Highland Park boy fighting Chrohn's disease, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives expressing the sense of Congress that a commemorative postage stamp should be issued to promote public awareness of Chrohn's disease.

"Despite affecting so many Americans, Chrohn's is often misdiagnosed and there is still no known cause or cure," Pallone said. "It is my hope that a postage stamp could increase awareness and educate the public and the medical community about this debilitating disease."

Chrohn'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 later meeting with Gideon Sofer. 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.

Since then, Pallone worked with Gideon in his personal struggles to finish his schooling and in his efforts to found the IBD Cure Foundation, an organization that is working to raise awareness of Chrohn's disease. Through the foundation, Gideon, now 19-years old, has gathered over 4,000 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 Chrohn's stamp."

"Gideon's story is truly inspiring," said Pallone. " He refuses to allow this disease to get him down and strives to improve the quality of life for the children and adults affected by Chrohn's disease."

Chrohn'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 Chrohn's disease, but there is still no know cause or cure.

Chrohn's disease affects approximately 100,000 children under the age of 18 and 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 Chrohn's disease will require one or more operations and many will experience stunted growth.