December 17th, 2017

U of L student receives Abb Vie IBD scholarship

By Mabell, Dave on August 31, 2017.

Hjordis Hentschel a third-year management student at the University of Lethbridge, has been awarded a scholarship as part of the national AbbVie IBD scholarship program. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

A management student at the University of Lethbridge is one of 15 across Canada to receive a scholarship from a major pharmaceutical company.

Hjordis Hentschel, a third-year student focusing on accounting, will receive up to $5,000 from the national AbbVie IBD scholarship program. It aims to encourage young Canadians living with inflammatory owel disease to continue their education.

Originally from a mid-sized German city near Dusseldorf, Hentschel explains she and her family moved to Edmonton in 2009. Her parents now operate a restaurant, Haus Salkenstein, on the city’s westside.

But when she decided to go to university, she says, she chose the U of L because it offers smaller class sizes. And she prefers living in a less stressful community.

“Lethbridge is about the same size as my hometown,” she explains.

It was just a year ago, Hentschel says, that she was diagnosed with IBD. There’s nearly a quarter of a million Canadians in the same situation today – one of the highest rates in the world.

So while digging into her second-year studies, she was also forced to learn how to live with the illness. In the process, she learned about the Lethbridge chapter of Crohn’s Colitis Canada.

Since then, she’s kept in contact with students and others in the area who are living with the same condition. And she’s creating a “Gutsy” group on campus, where newly diagnosed or longer-term IBD patients can share advice.

“It helps to talk with someone else who understands.”

She’s also created a video on the subject, and posted it on social media.

Looking ahead, Hentschel is hoping for a co-op work opportunity with a local accounting firm – one of the options offered at the U of L. And she’ll continue her efforts to educate students and others about the challenges IBD creates and how they can be countered.

The national Crohn’s Colitis organization administers the scholarship program, boosted to 15 recipients this year in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. It’s funded by AbbVie, a research-focused biopharmaceutical company working in more than 75 nations around the world.

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