Casey Abrams‘ run on American Idol season 10 was nearly derailed when a flare-up of his Ulcerative Colitis sent him to the hospital.  He missed a results show,  a few functions and Ford commercials, but thankfully, after treatment (which included blood transfusions) he got things under control and was able to compete all the way to 6th place.

Read the full press release HERE.

Now, Casey is set to launch a nationwide contest to raise awareness about inflammatory bowel disease. US citizens, age eighteen and older who are diagnosed with UC or Crohn’s disease, are encouraged to submit their story showcasing how they’ve been able to pursue their dreams despite their disease now through August 26, 2011 at www.IBDIcons.com. Six finalists – three who have UC and three who have Crohn’s disease – will be selected by a panel of judges and announced online this fall, at which time the public can vote for the finalist they find most inspiring.

After a national vote, one finalist with UC and one with Crohn’s disease will be named the 2011 IBD Icons and win a trip to the Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & 1/2 Marathon on December 4, 2011 to benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, where Casey Abrams will perform.

When Casey received his UC diagnosis nearly two years ago, he was concerned about how he would manage the disease and still pursue his passion for music.

“When I was diagnosed with UC in college, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to balance my health and my music. I could barely find the energy to walk to class, let alone carry a bass around campus,” said Casey. “But I decided UC was just an obstacle I had to rise above in order to pursue making music. I want to let people know that if you stay positive and have the courage to ask for the help you need early on, anyone can live beyond this disease.”

Sponsored by Janssen Biotech, Inc., in partnership with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, IBD Icons brings Casey’s personal experience with ulcerative colitis (UC) to the public forefront in an effort to raise awareness of IBD. IBD includes the chronic digestive diseases, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which combined affect 1.4 million Americans. Despite his diagnosis and struggle with UC, Casey finished in sixth place on season 10 of American Idol and earned a coveted spot on the 2011 summer tour.

“We are excited to be part of a campaign that celebrates individuals with IBD who have risen above their disease in pursuit of their full potential,” said Kimberly Frederick, LCSW, MSW, Senior Vice President of Mission, CCFA. “It is our hope that the stories of these finalists will inspire others who may be struggling with their diagnosis or symptoms and give them the courage to live beyond IBD.”

Casey encourages everyone living with IBD who is pursuing their dreams to enter for the chance to be named an IBD Icon at www.IBDIcons.com, or register for the fan club to receive program updates. Full contest rules and regulations can be found at www.IBDIcons.com.

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  • http://durbnet.wordpress.com/ DurbNet

    Yay for Casey doing this, awareness is always good. I didn’t even know about this disease before I disovered Casey suffered from it.

  • hooch

    In the AJC, Rodney Ho said he is interviewing Casey at 4:00 PM today. He was asking if anyone had any questions for him.

  • Pam

    With a platform as large as idol is, it’s great when contestants can use it to bring awareness to causes like this. Casey really struggled to stay on the show several times even before he was eliminated the first time and ultimately got the save. He was determined not to quit. I have to admire him for that.

  • Triskel4

    And by bowl, I’m sure MJ means Bowel.

  • Ringo

    And by bowl, I’m sure MJ means Bowel.

    Either way, I guess.

  • larc

    And by bowl, I’m sure MJ means Bowel.

    One is funny and the other I wish MJ had waited until evening to put up when I’ve had a couple of drinks. ;)

    Seriously, it’s a good cause and Casey deserves applause for doing it.

  • Suzanne

    If 4:00 hasn’t happened where Rodney is, I’d like to know if Casey knows that the growl killed him in the competition. In the alternative, I’d like to know if Casey knows how much better he is at vocal jazz/harmony driven songs than what he calls “rock” and I call “growl songs.”

    Half of his performances, i loved and the other half, I hated. I’ve never felt so polar about a contestant before.

    Re: UC–I think it’s great how some idols are able to raise awareness of issues and causes that effect them or inspire them. Like Elliott and Crystal with diabetes, Clay Aiken with autism, David Cook with StandUp2Cancer, David Archuleta with Invisible Children. I know several people with UC; it’s debilitating. I bet millions didn’t realize how serious it was until they saw that Casey wasn’t at Idol b/c he was getting a transfusion.

  • lla2827

    With a platform as large as idol is, it’s great when contestants can use it to bring awareness to causes like this. Casey really struggled to stay on the show several times even before he was eliminated the first time and ultimately got the save. He was determined not to quit. I have to admire him for that.

    I agree. His determination and spirit throughout the idol process was inspiring. That is one of the things I love about Casey–he has this great energy about him. I read that he was really bad off there for awhile–but you would never know it from his performances in those first few weeks. I am amazed when I think about it.

    I know he doesn’t have that many big fans on this site–but he is one of my fave contestants ever on the show. I think he is one of the most talented and versatile contestants I have seen on AI. Even when a song didn’t work for him–he totally committed to it. He’s so creative and quirky and musical and funny–just awesome. From the tweets and reviews of the concert on here and twitter—it seems that folks are really loving his performances. But, that doesn’t surprise me.

    I also didn’t know much about IBD and looked it up when I heard about Casey. So glad that Idol can provide contestants living with these conditions a way to reach out and help others.

    I remember when quite a few posters here and elsewhere believed he should leave the competition due to his illness. They said he wouldn’t make it through the show much less the tour. I am so happy that he did continue on and show that despite these obstacles–you can pursue your goals and dreams.

  • kmd

    This is a good cause and Casey is a good guy to be raising awareness for it.

  • lla2827

    Here is the Rodney Ho’s interview about the IBS awareness cause. I think it’s great how Casey tried to keep the interview about the IBDicons campaign and not let it get it too much into the typical idol chatter.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDPkzPgszaA

  • http://www.fatladysings.us TFLS

    I suffer from IBS – with ‘suffer’ being the operative word (IBS like UC and Crohns all fall under the IBD heading, and present similar symptoms). It’s more than just inconvenient or debilitating. Attacks are also extraordinarily painful. It’s not uncommon to pass out from the pain, actually. I have to take pain meds regularly – a circumstance I hate.

    So I’m glad Casey’s trying to raise awareness. Far too often I see IBS ( or other IBD’S) used as a punchline or to indicate a character is somehow lazy or shamming illness. As stress is a major trigger factor – simply controlling a persons diet coupled with the correct medication is never enough (not for me, anyway). And episodes can be harsh. My hats off to Casey for managing everything as well as he has. I love his cool, wiggy style. It would be a real pity if he ended up not being able to perform live.