Crunches for Crohn's and Colitis

Brian Strasser and wife Mona  Segal "Crunch" away.

Just a couple of years back the Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100 million worldwide for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The formula was simple: within 24 hours of being challenged, participants had to record a video of themselves in continuous footage, first, announcing their acceptance of the challenge, followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water then have it dumped over head. The participant then nominate a minimum of three other people to participate in the challenge .

The Ice Bucket Challenge was not only a solid financial success, but it also raised awareness for ALS. Videos went viral. Everyone wanted to do it and there was a tremendous celebrity buy in. While attempts were made to keep this going, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a one trick pony and its novelty did wear off.

Enter Montreal couple Mona Segal and Brian Strasser. They have launched a nationwide challenge called Crunches for Crohn’s and Colitis to raise funds and awareness for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The idea is for people to videotape themselves doing crunches until they feel the burn in their gut (like someone with IBD) and then to post the video on social media and tag someone in the video to do the challenge. People can also go to to make a donation to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada after completing the crunches.

Check their video here on Facebook

Mona has had Crohn’s since the age of 20. She was symptomatic since the age of 11. Her son Aidan, 18, was diagnosed with Crohn's when he was 13.

How did they come up with the idea for this challenge? “The idea originated from both Brian and me,” Mona says. “Brian is always up for a challenge. A former friend and band mate of Brian's nominated him for last year's 22 day, 22 Push-up Challenge to honor our veterans suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and veteran's families who lost loves ones due to suicide. At the end of the 22 days, he and I felt a void and we started talking about the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge which we did as his mom passed away 10 years ago from ALS and the push-up challenge. We started talking about how great it would be to do something to support those suffering with Crohn's and Colitis, especially as this hit us personally with both my son and me. Hot off the floor from doing push-ups, Brian asked ‘what if we were to do something like Crunches for Crohn's and Colitis?’ That was it. We both loved it. I immediately reached out to Stefanie Rosenblatt at Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to bounce the idea off of her and here we are today.”

On January 9 Crohn's and Colitis Canada officially announced the campaign on social media and Facebook views keep climbing. “We are hoping to start seeing the donations and videos hit the internet real soon,” Mona says.

How far can this go?

“We truly believe that this can go viral and go global,” says Mona. “Crohn's and Colitis Canada is behind the campaign 100 percent and the internet and social media are an amazing way to create awareness for a good cause. We are hoping that the media will pick this up and, we are going to continue to promote this on the internet. Once the campaign really gains momentum, we are also going to try and get some celebrities behind this to help spread the word more widely.”

And yes, Mona and Brian do believe this can become another Ice Bucket Challenge. “We will continue to network as best as we can and, as long as we can continue to spread the word via the internet, print media, radio, television and others, we will succeed,” she said “We are dedicated to making this a true success.”

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