Checkmates, founded in 2014, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that works tirelessly to raise funds and awareness in the quest to find a cure for inflammatory bowel disease, commonly known ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Equally important, Checkmates is dedicated to assisting those in the ostomy community. There are an estimated 700,000 to 1,000,000 Americans living with and ostomy (Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy). Despite the growing number ostomy patients in the US, ostomy charities are extremely underfunded and, sadly, ostomy patients have precious few resources to tend to their unique needs. Noting that our Canadian neighbors also have hundreds of thousands of IBD and ostomy patients, Checkmates is creating mutually beneficial relationships between Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, United Ostomy Association of America and Ostomy Toronto. These organizations, along with Checkmates, plan entertaining fundraising and awareness raising events in both the US and Canada to help our respective communities. These are diseases and health issues without borders. Our CEO, Justin Mirigliani, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in December of 2002. He battled the disease for 12 years before he had to have his entire large intestine removed due to a severe precancerous condition. He now has a permanent ileostomy bag. Since September 24, 2015, he has vowed to do all he can to help others who suffer with IBD and to help remove the stigma attached to those who have a “bag.” Justin is determined to show, through his active lifestyle, that NOTHING is impossible with an ostomy. He is trying to become the first ostomate to bench press 405lbs. Justin has created a Checkmates hockey team which competes in charity hockey games with NHL alumni. So far Checkmates has raised over $30,000 with these hockey events. With our partners we know, someday, we will say “checkmate” to IBD. In the meantime, we will never stop striving to make the lives of those with IBD and those living with an ostomy the best lives they can be!