Introducing the 2017 AbbVie IBD Scholarship Recipients

Fifteen winners selected after record number of applications received


Toronto, ON – August 8, 2017 – Following a demanding selection process, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is proud to announce it has selected 15 post-secondary students to be awarded AbbVie IBD Scholarships. The 15 students, hailing from colleges and universities across the country, all live with the challenges of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but still strive to earn a higher education. The scholarships of up to

$5,000 to be used by each student for his or her tuition consist of ten annual scholarships and five additional scholarships awarded this year in celebration of Canada 150.


“We received a record number of scholarship applications in 2017, with each student sharing heartfelt stories of courage and determination,” said Mina Mawani, President and CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. “Every student receiving the AbbVie IBD Scholarship has worked hard to excel academically while overcoming the difficulties caused by their disease.”


Canada has one of the highest rates of inflammatory bowel disease in the world, with nearly a quarter of a million people affected. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two main forms of IBD, cause inflammation of the intestinal tract, resulting in ulcers, severe pain, fatigue, internal bleeding, and an unpredictable and urgent need to use the washroom. People with IBD are often diagnosed at a young age, which can make the already challenging task of completing post-secondary education all the more stressful.


“The AbbVie IBD Scholarship is designed to assist post-secondary students at a critical time in their lives by encouraging them to pursue their studies while living with these chronic diseases,” says Stéphane Lassignardie, General Manager of AbbVie Canada. “Dealing with the everyday stress of school can be challenging enough. When you factor in the pain and stigma felt by many people living with Crohn’s and colitis, it can be overwhelming.”


Since 2012, the AbbVie IBD Scholarship has supported nearly 60 Canadian students in navigating post- secondary education while living with Crohn’s or colitis by awarding scholarships that total in excess of

$250,000. Scholarship recipients are not only academically ambitious, but also actively engaged in their communities, supporting others living with IBD and raising awareness. To that end, each recipient will be sharing their story in their community and online.


2017 AbbVie IBD Scholarship Recipients


  • Adrian Bulfon – Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University
  • Alexandra Cohen – McGill University
  • Shira Gertsman – University of Ottawa
  • Hjordis Hentschel – University of Lethbridge


  • Leslie Hernandez – National Theatre School
  • Timothy Ireland – University of Winnipeg
  • Aleksandra Kacinska – Ryerson University
  • Najla Kanaan – Wilfred Laurier University
  • Gillian McKirdy – City University in Canada
  • Emma Neary – Queen’s University
  • Elliot Pitter – Dalhousie University
  • Brandon Schupp – University of Toronto
  • Joseph Shaw – Dalhousie University
  • Veronica Slade – University of Regina
  • Aaron Slobodin – Quest University Canada


To read more about the 2017 AbbVie IBD Scholarship recipients, visit:




About the AbbVie IBD Scholarship

Now in its sixth year, the AbbVie IBD Scholarship Program recognizes outstanding students across Canada who are living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Each winner is awarded an educational grant of up to $5,000 CAD. The scholarship is available to students of any age who are enrolled in a Canadian post-secondary educational institution in 2017. Visit You/IBD-Scholarships for more information.



About Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases. We are one of the top two health charity funders of Crohn’s and colitis research in the world, investing over $100 million in research to date. We are transforming the lives of people affected by Crohn’s and colitis (the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease) through research, patient programs, advocacy and awareness. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at @getgutsycanada.


About AbbVie

AbbVie is a global, research-driven biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions. The company’s mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at or follow us on Twitter at @abbviecanada.




For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:


Adam Bornstein

Smithcom Ltd. 905.505.2540


Rasheed Clarke

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada 416-920-5035 ext. 215