Students Recognized for Overcoming Health Adversity

    - 23 Students Across Canada Named as UCBeyond Scholarship Winners -

    TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - What does it take to go above and beyond?
    That was a question worth up to $5,000.00 CDN for students living with
rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and epilepsy who
were able to demonstrate perseverance to overcome their health challenges.
    David McBey, 17, of Toronto, Ontario, was diagnosed with rheumatoid
arthritis in grade 11 and since then has spent periods of weeks at a time on
crutches due to constant pain in his joints. David is one of the eight
recipients of the 2008 UCBeyond Rheumatoid Arthritis Scholarship. Between
rheumatoid arthritis flares, he has scored hat tricks in local hockey games
and won the championship game in overtime, and scored touchdowns as co-captain
of the varsity men's rugby team. Fueled by a lifelong passion for the field of
medicine, David is thrilled to be entering the Kinesiology program at Queen's
University this fall, with the hope of future involvement in organizations
such as Doctors Without Borders.
    "My rheumatoid arthritis has never stood in the way of what I have always
wanted to do," says David. "I really appreciate the help that this scholarship
from UCB Pharma Canada will provide during the school year, especially with
many years of studies ahead of me. It's great that they are offering this help
to students like me - it gives me the motivation to pursue my academic and
personal goals."
    The 2008 UCBeyond Scholarship recipients have been chosen by independent
selection committees of leading physicians and patient representatives from
across Canada. Applicants were evaluated based on a one-page essay
demonstrating how they have gone above and beyond their disease, exhibited
perseverance and empowered others, as well as two letters of personal
recommendation. The scholarship awards are sponsored by UCB Pharma Canada, a
new biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Burlington, Ontario.
    Despite the increasing severity of her Crohn's disease, Rossana
Bisceglia, 31, of Mississauga, Ontario, completed a Master's degree in
Psychology and is now entering the third year of her PhD in Psychology this
fall. As a therapist, Rossana instructed teachers and parents on successful
strategies for teaching individuals with intellectual disabilities; she has
also worked with children afflicted with autism. As a recipient of the 2008
UCBeyond Scholarship Award, Rossana is living proof that determination can
dictate the level of excellence and personal achievement.
    Emma Thornton, 28, of Edmonton, Alberta, is one of seven winners of the
UCBeyond Epilepsy Scholarship. An advocate and spokesperson with the Edmonton
Epilepsy Association (EEA), Emma has appeared on television regarding her
battle with epilepsy and spoken within schools to provide education about
living with epilepsy and seizure first aid to youth of all ages. This fall,
Emma will be entering the fourth year of her Nursing degree at the University
of Alberta.
    "On behalf of all the members of the Crohn's disease, rheumatoid
arthritis and epilepsy selection committees, I would like to extend a warm
congratulatory note to the 23 recipients of the 2008 UCBeyond Scholarship,"
says Dr. Lionel Carmant, Neurologist, Université de Montréal, and chairperson
of the epilepsy selection committee. "It is with programs such as these that
we can begin to educate the public around the barriers facing students with
disabilities, and empower patients to reach above and beyond their diseases to
achieve excellence."
    "UCB Pharma Canada thanks the hundreds of Canadian students who took the
time to complete the application process and apply for the 2008 UCBeyond
Scholarship Programs," says Rob Hamilton, President and General Manager of UCB
Pharma Canada. "We are proud to be announcing the winners today, and feel all
the scholarship recipients really personify what it means to live above and
beyond their diseases and empower others in the fight against rheumatoid
arthritis, Crohn's disease and epilepsy. Their stories are truly courageous
and we are honoured to assist them in achieving their dreams of pursuing a
post-secondary education."
    Partners of the UCBeyond Scholarship Program included The Arthritis
Society (TAS), the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance (CAPA), Arthritis
Consumer Experts (ACE), the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA), the
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC), the Canadian Digestive Health
Foundation (CDHF), the Canadian Gastroenterology Association (CAG), the
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) and the Canadian League Against Epilepsy

    About the scholarship recipients

    The 23 scholarship recipients were chosen from more than 300 total
applicants from across the country. They include:

    UCBeyond Rheumatoid Arthritis Scholarship Recipients
    1.  David McBey, Toronto, ON - Queen's University (Kinesiology)
    2.  Faith Cameletti, Guelph, ON - St. Jerome's University (English)
    3.  Marie Veilleux, Montreal, QC - McGill University (Master's -
    4.  Samantha Whiteside, New Hamburg, ON - University of Guelph
    5.  Kristine Rasmussen, Meritt, BC - University of British Columbia
        (Occupational Therapy)
    6.  Greg Boese, Winnipeg, MB - University of Manitoba (Psychology)
    7.  Alexandra Preston, Edmonton, AB - University of Alberta (English)
    8.  Jessica Leyte, Georges River, NS - Cape Breton University

    UCBeyond Crohn's Disease Scholarship Recipients
    1.  Joel Frey, Saskatoon, SK - University of Saskatchewan (PhD -
        Electrical Engineering)
    2.  Rosanna Bisceglia, Mississauga, ON - University of Toronto (PhD -
    3.  Stuart Amory Hamilton, Ottawa, ON - Queen's University (Life
    4.  Jonah Trembley, Hanwell, NB - University of New Brunswick (Electrical
    5.  Chris Mamo, London, ON - Wilfrid Laurier University (Sociology)
    6.  Lori Schneider, Edmonton, AB - University of Alberta (Psychology)
    7.  Elliot Gordon, Thornhill, ON - York University (Kinesiology and
        Health Science)
    8.  Adam Plotkin, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC - McGill University (Sociology
        and Political Science)

    UCBeyond Epilepsy Scholarship Recipients
    1.  William Cope, Qualicum Beach, BC - Vancouver Island University
    2.  Keltie Saulnier, Dartmouth, NS - Dalhousie University (Commerce)
    3.  Melissa Seichter, Ancaster, ON - McMaster University (Business)
    4.  David Hains, Toronto, ON - University of Toronto (Honours Arts)
    5.  Elizabeth Trueman, Point de Bute, NB - University of New Brunswick
    6.  Emma Thornton, Edmonton, AB - University of Alberta (Nursing)
    7.  Jonathan Hope, Montréal, QC - Université du Québec a Montréal

    About Rheumatoid arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease which
causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that 320,000 (1 in
100) people suffer from RA in Canada.(1) Prevalence is not split evenly
between genders, since women are three times more likely to be affected than
    Although it can affect people of all ages, the onset of RA usually occurs
between 25-50 years.(3) Symptoms of RA may include joint stiffness, joint
pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in
mobility. These symptoms can be intermittent and vary in severity from patient
to patient. In more severe cases RA can eventually lead to disability. RA
patients are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions, in
particular heart disease, stroke, infections, lung problems and

    About Crohn's disease

    Crohn's disease is a chronic and debilitating inflammatory disease of the
gastrointestinal tract, affecting more than 170,000 people in Canada.(5) The
onset of Crohn's disease often occurs between the ages of 18-25. As Crohn's
disease is a chronic ailment, people go through unpredictable periods in which
the disease flares and causes symptoms. These episodes are followed by times
of remission - periods in which symptoms disappear or decrease and good health
returns. Canada has one of the highest incidence and prevalence of Crohn's
disease in the world.

    About Epilepsy(6)

    Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition affecting 40 million people
worldwide, including over 15,000 new cases of epilepsy each year in Canada. It
is the fourth most common neurological disorder and is caused by abnormal,
excessive electrical discharges of the nerve cells or neurons in the brain.
Epilepsy is characterized by a tendency to have recurrent seizures and defined
by two or more unprovoked seizures. Between 70 to 80 per cent of individuals
are successfully treated with one of the 21 antiepileptic drugs now available.
However, 20 to 30 per cent of patients have either intractable or uncontrolled
seizures or significant adverse side effects secondary to medication,
highlighting the ongoing need for the development of new antiepileptic drugs.

    About UCB

    UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global leader in the
biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and
commercialisation of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products in
the fields of central nervous system disorders, allergy/respiratory diseases,
immune and inflammatory disorders and oncology. UCB focuses on securing a
leading position in severe disease categories.
    UCB Pharma Canada was officially incorporated in 2006 with the objective
of bringing new-and, convenient therapies to the Canadian market for
auto-immune, inflammatory diseases and central nervous system disorders. As a
patient-focused organization, UCB Pharma Canada's 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.

    (1)    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada
           (, accessed on April 2008)
    (2)    The Arthritis Society (, accessed on April
    (3)    Panayi G, What is RA? National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, June
    (4)    Hellier, J et al, HLA-DRB1 genes and patients with late onset
           rheumatoid arthritis, Annals of Rheumatic Disease, 2001;60:531-533
    (5)    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada
           (, accessed on April 2008)
    (6)    Epilepsy Canada (, accessed
           on April 2008)

For further information:

For further information: on the UCBeyond Scholarship Program, or to
arrange an interview with a recipient, please contact: (905) 567-1406: Alon
Barmapov, ext. 223; (647) 405-1352; or Sandeep Punia, ext. 222; (647)

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