Bridgestone Americas, Inc CEO & President Gary A. Garfield Named First Ever National Take Steps Be Heard Walk Chairman

April 30, 2012

New York, NY  The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)  is delighted to announce that Gary Garfield, President & CEO of Bridgestone Americas, Inc, will serve as the organization’s first ever  National Chair for their Take Steps Be Heard walk program.  Take Steps Be Heard is the largest walk program in the country dedicated to raising funds and awareness for digestive diseases.

“We are thrilled to have Gary’s leadership to help us generate new revenue and raise awareness for these often misunderstood diseases.  On behalf of the thousands of people who walk each year, we thank him for taking on this new and very important role,” said Rick Geswell, President & CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. “Take Steps Be Heard gives a voice to the 1.4 million American adults and children who are affected by these digestive diseases. Gary’s leadership will help strengthen that voice.”

Mr. Garfield had previously served on the board of Tennessee Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.   In addition to his work at Bridgestone Americas, Garfield is a board member of Firestone Diversified Products, LLC, the Nashville Ballet and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.  In January 2011, he joined the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s Board of Trustees.  He is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association. He joined the Board of Visitors – Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Business in 2011. 

“I am happy to lend my support to this very important cause,” said Gary Garfield, CEO & President, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. “I have seen the devastating affects these diseases can have and I want to do all that I can to help find cures. It’s not a matter of finding cures, it’s a matter of funding them. ”

Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affects 1 in 200 people.  They are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Crohn's disease may attack anywhere along the digestive track, 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 numerous hospitalizations and surgery.  Most people develop the diseases between the ages of 15 and 35; however the incidence is increasing in children.

In its fifth year, Take Steps is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s national walk program to raise money for critical research and awareness about these painful and unpredictable digestive diseases.  Thousands of people will gather this spring and summer at 158 walk sites across the country to join the fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The walks are family friendly festivals with activities for everyone including bands, games, activities, food and a leisurely walk through a park or community.  Take Steps Walks have raised over $30 million for research and patient support services. The program is committed to transforming the lives of those impacted by these diseases and leading them to a brighter future through well-funded, cutting-edge scientific research.

For more information about becoming involved in Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis, please visit

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation'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 80 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( and the American Institute of Philanthropy (

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