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Ulcerative colitis (UC) support groups are a great place to connect with others in your area. The support groups you attend in person may be run by either a health care professional or people who have UC. You can search for a local chapter of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) at the foundation's Web site, CCFA.org. Or just ask the staff at your doctor's office or hospital if there are local UC support groups. You can also ask for their help in starting your own group.

Online support groups

Consider looking into one of these online communities to get advice from and share experiences with other people with UC.

Anyone can be an advocate for UC

Family members and friends of people with UC can be advocates, alongside doctors and other medical professionals. There are plenty of areas that you can support as well — education, research, funding, or legislation.

One good way is to search online for "advocate for ulcerative colitis" in your preferred search engine and research the ways you can join committees or participate in fund-raising.

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

The CCFA, one of the biggest advocates for those with UC, is a well-known and well-respected non-profit organization that is completely volunteer-driven. CCFA supports research and education on chronic intestinal diseases and provides supportive services to help people cope with them. All programs are supported solely by contributions from the public and corporate sponsors. CCFA offers many resources. Visit the links below to get started.

Some of the Web sites listed on this page allow for free exchange of information (for example, chat rooms and forums). Shire does not sponsor or endorse this free exchange of information. Shire is not responsible for the content or services provided by any Web sites that are not owned by Shire. Web sites that are not owned by Shire are governed by their own policies and guidelines, including privacy policies.

The Restroom Access Act

The Restroom Access Act, or "Ally's Law," works to help people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) gain access to restrooms. Ally, a teen with IBD, was shopping at a retail chain in her home state of Illinois. Because of her disease, she suddenly had to use the restroom. Ally and her mother asked the manager if she could use the employee-only facility, explaining it was an emergency, but she was denied access and had an accident in the store.

Ally worked with Illinois state representatives to get a law passed that would require retail businesses to make employee-only restrooms available to people with inflammatory bowel disease, which includes UC, and those with other medical conditions that require immediate access to a toilet facility. The Restroom Access Act ("Ally's Law") was passed in Illinois in 2005, is now a law in a number of states, and has been introduced as a bill in many more.

The Restroom Access Act, or “Ally’s Law,” was passed  to help people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) gain access to restrooms. Some states have passed a law requiring private restrooms to be available to patrons in emergencies.

If you would like to help pass "Ally's Law" in your state, simply send a letter, e-mail, or fax or make a phone call to your state legislators and ask them to review and pass "Ally's Law."