Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready Signs Up for Half Marathon with Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge Program in Seattle

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Lead Guitarist Signs on to Help Change the Lives of Digestive Disease Patients

"When we learned that CCFA would be training athletes to run or walk summer half marathons, we decided this was our chance to not only help find a cure for IBD, but also challenge ourselves to do something neither of us has done before."

Mike McCready, guitarist and founding member of the American rock band, Pearl Jam, and his wife Ashley O'Connor recently signed on to participate in the July 17, 2011 Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon with Team Challenge, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s endurance training and fundraising program. Alongside hundreds of others from around the country, McCready and O'Connor will be trained by professional coaches this spring in Seattle while raising critical dollars that will support the Foundation’s education and support services, and research initiatives.

Last December, Mike McCready and Ashley O'Connor were guests of Team Challenge at the Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. After experiencing the amazing energy of the nearly 1,000 runners and walkers who crossed the finish line and raised millions of dollars to help improve the lives of patients, the couple was inspired to join in their own race. McCready explains, "when we learned that CCFA would be training athletes from around the country to run or walk one of three Team Challenge summer half marathons, we decided this was our chance to not only help find a cure for IBD, but also challenge ourselves to do something neither of us have done before -- complete a 13.1 mile race.”

Last year, over 2,000 people ran, walked, or cycled with Team Challenge. These participants at all fitness levels raised $8 million for research, education, and support services for patients suffering from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic and often debilitating digestive diseases affecting over 1.4 million Americans.

Participants are currently training in 28 cities around the country for the June 4 Virginia Half Marathon; the June 26 Kona Half Marathon; and the July 17 Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. For all races, event weekend kicks off with a pasta party and concludes with a finish line bash. This spring, Team Challenge will kick off the second season of its cycling program with a virtual training program for Centurion Canada’s 50 mile race in the beautiful Blue Mountains of Ontario on September 18; and will launch its Triathlon program that will train participants to swim, bike, and run the TriRock Triathlon Series San Diego race on September 11, 2011. Those interested in learning more about training for an upcoming race can find their local team at http://www.ccteamchallenge.org.

About Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere from the mouth to the anus, while ulcerative colitis inflames only the large intestine (colon). Symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Many patients require hospitalization and surgery. These illnesses can cause severe complications, including colon cancer in patients with long-term disease. Some 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, with as many as 150,000 under the age of 18. Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 81 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends goes to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org). For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit http://www.ccfa.org. Join CCFA on Facebook at http://apps.facebook.com/supportccfa/and follow CCFA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ccfa.

About Pearl Jam
In 1991, Pearl Jam's debut album Ten catapulted the little-known Seattle-based band into superstardom. Nine studio albums, hundreds of unique live performances and nearly 300 concert bootleg releases later, the band continue to be critically acclaimed and commercially successful -- with over 60 million albums sold worldwide. Over the past twenty years, the band has remained a major force in rock and roll, as much for its aggressive loyalty to its social and political principles and restless experimentation as for its rock radio staples and bestselling albums.

2011 will be a yearlong celebration of Pearl Jam’s rich twenty-year history. The anniversary festivities kicked off with the release of a new live compilation album, Live on Ten Legs, in January, followed by the March expanded reissues of Vs. and Vitalogy. Late summer brings a Pearl Jam 20th anniversary destination weekend bash followed by the fall release of Cameron Crowe’s film, Pearl Jam Twenty, along with an accompanying book and soundtrack album. Interspersed between these PJ20 highlights will be a number of additional special events and new, unexpected releases. For the latest Pearl Jam happenings, visit http://www.pearljam.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ariella Levine
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
646-943-7430
alevine (at) ccfa (dot) org

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