Help is Here Again For Students With Chronic Illnesses

UCBeyond Scholarship Program Provides Opportunities for Students Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn's Disease

OAKVILLE, ON, April 13 /CNW/ - UCB Canada Inc. is proud to announce the launch of the 2010 UCBeyond Scholarship Program. During its four-year lifespan, the UCBeyond Scholarship has allocated almost 70 educational bursaries worth close to $350,000.00 CAN to students living with chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and epilepsy.

Nirupa Varatharasan, a Master of Science student from Dalhousie University, and one of the recipients of the 2009 UCBeyond Rheumatoid Arthritis Scholarships, is one of the beneficiaries of this prestigious award. "Sometimes, it is a struggle just to get out of bed, never mind worrying about working and going to school. That is why this scholarship is such a blessing; it recognizes those of us who look and live 'normally' but who battle pain and overcome denial on a constant basis. For that I am truly gracious."

It is because of stories like Nirupa's that UCB Canada Inc. continues to help reduce the financial burden faced by students living with rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease through the UCBeyond Scholarship Program. Now in its fourth year, the UCBeyond Scholarship Program will award eight (8) one-time scholarships of up to $5,000.00 CAN each to people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and eight (8) one-time scholarships of up to $5,000.00 CAN each to people diagnosed with Crohn's disease. The winners must demonstrate academic ambition and use their scholarship toward post-secondary education (i.e. university, college, trade school, etc.) for the 2010/2011 school year.

"We are often humbled by the remarkable feats accomplished by so many of the applicants, in spite of the daily challenges they face. Yet, we also understand that balancing educational studies with financial commitments and a chronic illness can often be a difficult battle," says Anne de Cassini, General Manager of UCB Canada Inc. "That is why UCB Canada is honoured and privileged to continue such a fantastic initiative like the UCBeyond Scholarship Program - to recognize those individuals that continuously go above and beyond their illness and reach higher plateaus."

An independent selection committee of leading physicians and patient representatives from across the country will choose the 2010 UCBeyond Scholarship recipients. Applicants will be evaluated based on a one-page essay demonstrating how they reach beyond their disease, exhibit perseverance and empower others, as well as two letters of personal recommendation. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2010 and the scholarship recipients will be announced in September 2010.

"Although arthritis and student-age patients are not traditionally thought of together, the reality is quite different. People are constantly surprised to learn that arthritis affects young children and adolescents," says Dr. Michel Zummer, Head of Rheumatology, CH Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Associate Professor, Université de Montréal and chair of the UCBeyond Rheumatoid Arthritis Scholarship selection committee. "That is why the UCBeyond scholarship program is so valuable to the arthritis community - it has made a dramatic impact on the lives of young people by allowing them to pursue their educational goals and empowering them to overcome challenges the disease imposes on their lives."

"Given the peak age of onset of Crohn's disease often coincides with the age of post-secondary education, we see many students whose schooling becomes interrupted because of their disease," says Dr. Remo Panaccione, Associate Professor and Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic, University of Calgary and chair of the UCBeyond Crohn's Disease Scholarship selection committee. "Alleviating a burden such as tuition from these students' shoulders, through an initiative such as the UCBeyond Scholarship Program, greatly impacts their ability to focus on staying healthy and succeeding in school."

Supporters of the UCBeyond Scholarship Program include: The Arthritis Society (TAS), Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE), the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) and the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF).

Students interested in applying for the 2010 UCBeyond Scholarship Program can obtain an application package from their rheumatologist or gastroenterologist, or visit www.arthritis.ca, www.cdhf.ca, or www.ccfc.ca or for a downloadable application form.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that five million people suffer from RA globally with 0.3 % to 1 % of the population in industrialized countries suffering from the disease. It is estimated that 320,000 (1 in 100) people suffer from RA in Canada(1). Women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although it can affect people of all ages, the onset of RA usually occurs between the ages of 35-55.

Symptoms of RA may include joint stiffness, joint pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in mobility. These symptoms are usually persistent but may be intermittent and vary in severity from patient to patient. In more severe cases RA often leads to disability. RA patients are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions, in particular heart disease, infections and osteoporosis(2).

About Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is a chronic, progressive, destructive disorder that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, most commonly at the end of the small intestine (the ileum) and beginning of the large intestine (the colon). If not effectively treated, it results in the need for surgery. Crohn's disease has been estimated to affect as many as 170,000 Canadians. People with Crohn's can experience an ongoing cycle of flare-up and remission throughout their lives. Together with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

About UCB Canada Inc.

UCB Canada Inc. was officially incorporated in 2006 with the objective of bringing new-generation therapies to the Canadian market for auto-immune and central nervous system diseases. UCB Canada Inc. is dedicated to bringing new and innovative programs to patients, and to the specialists who treat them, to help improve the lives of people living with severe diseases.

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus in the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing approximately 10,000 people in over 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of EUR 3.6 billion in 2008. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

Forward looking statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements based on current plans, estimates and beliefs of management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those that may be implied by such forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Important factors that could result in such differences include: changes in general economic, business and competitive conditions, effects of future judicial decisions, changes in regulation, exchange rate fluctuations and hiring and retention of its employees.

    
    References

    1.  http://www.arthritis.ca
    2.  Firestein G, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ACP Medicine WebMD Publishing,
        August 2004
    

SOURCE UCB Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: on the UCBeyond Scholarship Program, please contact: Prizsm Public Affairs Inc., Chelsea Philip, (647) 969-9222, cphilip@prizsm.ca

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