My Sister’s Gutsy Journey: Raising Awareness for World IBD Day

More than 40 countries around the world will come together tomorrow to help raise awareness for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in honor of World IBD Day. Celebrated annually on May 19, this year’s efforts focus on a global video movement that encourages those affected by IBD to share their journey in short videos with the theme, “United We Stand.”

The campaign calls for anyone impacted by IBD, whether patients, caregivers, family, gastroenterologists, nurses, and friends, to share their story with the world. While many have been contributing their own accounts of life with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, the videos will go public on World IBD Day and viewed at the foundation’s official website.

Today there are more than 1.6 million Americans currently diagnosed with IBD, with as many as 70,000 new cases springing up each year—most of whom reach an official diagnosis before the age of 35. While these chronic, life-long conditions cannot be cured, they can be treated.

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Maureen Van Zandt: Making a Difference, One Charity at a Time

Throughout our lifetime, we have all been affected by cancer in some way, whether it’s through a family member, a friend, co-worker, acquaintance, mentor—or even ourselves. Cancer does not discriminate and has now become one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Today, there are more than a 100 types of active cancers characterized by abnormal cell growth, one of them being brain cancer.

At present there are nearly 700,000 people in the United States living with primary brain tumors, with an additional 69,000 more to be diagnosed later this year. While it is unknown what causes these cancers of the brain, there are currently more than 120 different types affecting patients with only four FDA approved treatments available.

Doing right for others means doing right for ourselves, and actress and philanthropist Maureen Van Zandt does just that. Spending much of her life bringing awareness for charities and causes in dire need of attention, Van Zandt is altruistic and warmhearted when it comes to helping others. This month, the multi-talented artist is raising money for brain cancer research through the best way she knows how—a charity dinner auction.

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‘Buy a Lady a Drink’: Turning Beer into Clean Water

Water Stella 01

Before heading to bed each and every night, I make my way to the kitchen faucet and fill one of those desert-ready tin bottles in case I should ever feel thirsty during my comfortable slumbers. Some nights I take tiny sips, while other nights, I might drink half the bottle. Either way, I have water by my side at all times and though this is a luxury that I am consciously blessed with, it doesn’t have me thinking too much about time in my own life as it literally takes less than a minute to fill up at the convenience of having readily available clean water.

While I can drink water so accessibly and use it in various ways like cooking, cleaning or even watering in-door plants that look like they’re on the verge of dying, there is a staggering 750 million people around the world who lack access to clean water—with this statistic disproportionately affecting women every day.

Take for example, Suman (“Suman’s Journey to the Communal Well”) who spends three hours a day making a journey to a well just so she can collect clean water in her Indian village. At times, she will have to wait two to three hours to collect it and because of the circumstances, may have to fight others in line for it. Unfortunately, the wells can break and while it can take months to repair, the day has to continue and women like Suman take extremely long journeys all in order to find water.

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U2 Debuts ‘Invisible’ During Super Bowl XLVIII For (RED) Campaign

The Super Bowl has become one of the most watched annual television events in the United States, bringing everyone together in celebration, even if it’s just for a few hours.  It has been estimated that over 100 million viewers are expected to tune into the Fox Network’s broadcast of the big game where the Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey this Sunday. Between the lavish parties being thrown, the large menu of food being devoured, the halftime show starring Bruno Mars, the actual game, and the commercials, many will be glued to their television sets come Super Sunday. With all eyes on the big game, advertisers will be lining up to spend hefty amounts of money for their advertisements.

An iconic and legendary band banking on the allure of the game’s advertising through commercials will be U2, showcasing their music and bringing an important cause to front  and center.

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#ScottBrosIndia LIVE Twitter Chat Raising Awareness for Anti-Child Labor and Trafficking

I had the privilege and honor to interview both Drew and Jonathan Scott last March for my Newsvine column over at NBC, and they are such warm and sweet, congenial gentlemen. I admire their work greatly and am thrilled they are in India right now along with their older brother, JD helping to raise awareness on anti-child labor and trafficking. I received a media alert earlier this afternoon about a live Twitter event that will take place tonight at 9PM EST/6pm PST. Read my latest for The Hudsucker to find out more about the issue and how you can get involved to ask questions to the Scott Brothers later this evening!

Scott brothers Jonathan, JD and Drew in New Delhi at World Vision education project being taught a cultural dance by local children. Image Credit: World Vision/Scott Brothers Entertainment

#ScottBrosIndia LIVE Twitter Chat Raising Awareness for Anti-Child Labor and Trafficking

Children are the soul of our society and the lifeblood of our world. There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than in the way in which it treats its children. However, it’s a sad reality that not every child in this world is treated with love, respect, and protection. Every day thousands of children are trafficked across borders for the purpose of exploitation. Most times coercion and control are used and though trafficking is a crime under international laws in many countries, the International Labor Organization has estimated that 115 million children are trafficked for exploitation of labor and sex, or for doing hazardous jobs with more than 60% of children in these jobs being boys between the ages of 12-17 years of age.  Nevertheless the prime target of the traffickers are most often women and children because they are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination.

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Happy World Water Day!

Children at new school tap in Paraiso Moras, Lempira, Honduras. Image Credit:

When you drank a glass of water today, did you really look at it? Did you realize that something so common and normal to us has a deep dark truth behind it? A truth that really none of us know about or even realize. Water, a liquid made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen—what does it mean to man? How important could something like water really be? It has become a sad truth that water, one of the most essential ingredients to our life source has evolved into one of the most basic needs that man has now taken for granted. We disregard it and at times, have become so blind in our quest for survival and power that water, the one true lifeblood of our nation, well-being and economy, has now become a victim of such apathy.

Today marks World Water Day, a day where the profile of water quality is raised by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to wholeheartedly engage and proactively address the depleting water conditions around the world with hopes of tackling pollution prevention, clean up and restoration. World Water Day is an annual initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This year and all year around the world, a huge number of events and activities take place to allow people to have the chance to be part of a world where we can all make a difference and get clean water to everyone in need of it.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and though there seems to be a ‘celebrated day’ for everything now, this is the one day that is not like any other. We celebrate this day and honor women who have not only paved our way for a brighter future, but have brought great success and progression to our rights and overall quality of life. Each year on March 8 we take out time to remind ourselves that women not only inspire us, but can and will change the world when given the opportunity.

Growing up is not easy for girls given that we are not always taken seriously. A lot of the time we’re cast into a gender-specific mold, and told to like the color pink, or buy Barbie dolls, or only play with the girls at the playground. However, I have been so fortunate in my twenty some years to be constantly surrounded by beautiful and intellectual women who were strong-minded and genuinely appreciated authenticity and individuality. All of which helped me become a wiser and stronger girl with a balanced life style, while allowing me to appreciate and enjoy everything growing up, including playing with Barbie dolls, Ghostbusters action figures, my Hot Wheels collection, and run around with boys and then come home in my muddy overalls. I got to be the girl I wanted to be by challenging myself. Through it all, I was able to find my strengths and work on my weaknesses thereby helping me to acquire wisdom and motivation by overcoming obstacles. I haven’t always made the best choices in life, but I have made them and I have no regrets because I do believe I am a strong and brave young woman, full of life, love and bright-eyed wonderment.

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Matt Damon: “I’m Going on Strike”

Actor and co-founder of, Matt Damon announced earlier this afternoon that he would go on strike from using toilets, creating headlines around the world. Yes, you read it correctly. “Jason Bourne” is not going to use a toilet…

The Academy Award-winning actor took to the podium today, announcing in a faux press conference for that he will boycott toilets until more people are aware of the global water sanitation crisis. It may not be the headline you imagined reading today, but it’s raising quite a “stink”. Many don’t realize that water is more than just two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen or something that comes out of our faucets and we take bubble baths in. It’s the lifeblood of our bodies, our economy, nation and well-being. Without it, survival would be a great challenge but in an age where we have forgotten our origins and grown blind to our needs and satisfying only our wants, water is one of the natural resources that has suffered heavily from our disregard.

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