What is the CDWP?
The “Crohn’s Disease Warrior Patrol” (the “CDWP”) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit tax-exempt Charitable Foundation which focuses on raising global awareness of the potential disabling severity and pervasive nature of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (“IBD”) such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
At its core, the CDWP is a “Patient Ambassador Program” which MATCHES experienced Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis & IBD patient “Warriors” with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis & IBD “Patients-in-Need” to help them more easily “digest” the potential life changes they face with such a diagnosis and to provide them with some “Tender Loving Care” (“TLC”) due to the unique, multifaceted and almost “personalized” challenges presented by these autoimmune, incurable diseases which are difficult to diagnose and often harder to treat. In that regard, the CDWP is premised on a simple notion, which also drives the global proliferation of Health Care Social Media (HCSM): “Patients helping other Patients is often the Best Medicine.”
Why the CDWP is needed
While IBD medical researchers, practitioners and hospital centers are always developing and employing new and compassionate treatment methods and creating innovative surroundings more conducive to patient healing, the cold, “bottom-line” reality of modern day healthcare often provides inadequate or even pre-determined doctor-patient interaction time. This inherent lack of available “TLC” can have extreme medical, psychological and emotional effects on IBD patients and their families. The deleterious ramifications of such rapid, homogenized treatment is highlighted in complex cases of IBD during which patients must choose between the best of only worst-case scenarios involving surgical options, medication choices, side effects and financial consequences. Compassionate doctors, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists and other healthcare professionals do all they can to help educate IBD patients and put them at ease during what can vary between difficult and seemingly barbaric diagnostic testing and “trial-by-error” treatments but current healthcare delivery systems too often place the IBD patient at a distinct disadvantage due to the combination of disorienting pain and having to choose between vastly different treatment methods for the same diagnosis.
Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis and IBD are also frequently referred to as “Invisible Illnesses” because a Crohn’s Disease patient, for example, could look perfectly healthy yet he or she could be suffering in silence from obstructive bowel pain (which is often compared to child-labor-pain due to its severity and cramp-like nature), soreness from non-stop hourly bathroom trips, serious systemic medication side effects or extreme lethargy. Some people ignorantly attach a stigma to IBD as if they are no more than “bathroom disorders” and therefore only annoying and embarrassing as if to simultaneously belittle the IBD patient and IBD. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth as an Inflammatory Bowel Disease like Crohn’s has effective treatment methods whose side effects can be lethal or at least as serious as the underlying disease and having to make choices like that becomes another symptom of IBD which can have severe medical, psychologically, emotional, social, financial, professional and familial effects. Even more frustrating for the IBD patient is that these same autoimmune, incurable Inflammatory Bowel Diseases can affect different patients, differently, in terms of scope, severity and even symptoms.Additionally, a specific treatment might work for one patient but hospitalize another.
All these things considered, being an IBD patient can be very lonely. This is why engaged experienced Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis and IBD Warrior patients and The CDWP are necessary. Members of the Crohn’s Disease Warrior Patrol provide support, comfort, experience, personal patient stories, a hug, a smile, a laugh and an overall hopeful visit or communication to let new IBD patients know we are all in this fight TOGETHER. This helps eradicate the psychological and emotional challenges of “feeling different” which is innate in many Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis & IBD patients; from the most naive child to the savviest and erudite of adults.
The CDWP takes “been there, done that” to new levels and proves that Patients truly are the most valuable untapped resource in Healthcare.
How the CDWP works
The Warrior patients are matched with the Patients-in-Need through short Sign-up questionnaires located at www.TheCDWP.org. The matches are performed based on logical parameters such as geographic proximity (e.g., zip code), disease commonalities, gender, age and any specific articulated need. The CDWP creates an active database so that Warrior patient visits/communications can be set up as quickly as possible. Ideally, we seek to match children up with children, Ostomy patients with other similarly afflicted patients, etc. and the database reflects this information as it is collected from the Sign-up questionnaires. Moving forward, we have plans to incorporate Medical Professionals, Hospitals and Pharmaceutical Companies into this Patient-to-Patient support mechanism so that “Patients helping other Patients” can be a legitimate aid in the fight against IBD.
Other CDWP methods
While the CDWP’s objective hasn’t changed, we are constantly devising ways to accomplish our goal of raising global IBD awareness. To that end, CDWP Executive Director Michael A. Weiss recently “presented” the CDWP philosophy at the prestigious “Doctors 2.0 & You” in Paris, France.
We also recently launched the “IBD Hero’s Award” to highlight the POSITIVE and INSPIRATIONAL stories of ordinary people battling IBD in an extraordinary manner or to extraordinary means. While these people wind up achieving incredible feats despite enormous adversity, they are driven simply by a desire to regain some sense of normalcy in their lives. Each IBD Hero receives a modest but personalized “gift” which will forever remind them of their importance to the large global population of IBD patients and their families who just might be making it through their day because they became aware of this IBD Hero.
Finally, the CDWP is producing a Patient-Driven Film Documentary about Crohn’s Disease and IBD.