Orange County Veteran, Ulcerative Colitis Awareness Advocate Receives ASCRS 2016 Local Hero Award

Orange County Veteran, Ulcerative Colitis Awareness Advocate Receives ASCRS 2016 Local Hero Award | ASCRS

Arlington Heights, IL – Ulcerative colitis survivor John Sicklick was honored with the 2016 Local Hero Award, presented by the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), at a ceremony during the organization’s annual meeting on May 3 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE hotel.   

The award recognizes a patient who overcame a colorectal disease and contributed to the local community through advocacy or public outreach efforts. Each year a recipient is selected from the metropolitan area where the ASCRS Annual Meeting is held.

The 2016 ASCRS Annual Meeting took place April 30 – May 4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

“We are very pleased to honor John Sicklick with the ASCRS Local Hero Award because of his outstanding commitment to raising awareness about colorectal diseases through his participation with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA),” said Dr. Roberta Muldoon, chair of the ASCRS Public Relations Committee. “We are very fortunate to have such a passionate advocate in the Orange County area.”

Sicklick, of Long Beach, CA, was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the digestive track, in 1996 when he was 34 years old. At the time of his diagnosis, Sicklick had been promoted to lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, but was placed in a restricted status that prevented him from fully participating in reserve activities.

“The beginning was very tough,” he said. “I was just dealing with a diagnosis of something that wouldn’t go away, and I was extremely ill.”

After several years of receiving medication and annual colonoscopies, Sicklick showed signs of dysplasia, which is the enlargement of organs and typically is associated with the early stages of cancer, in 2013. He successfully underwent surgery the following year.

In an effort to cope with his condition and help others, Sicklick began volunteering with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) and participating in support groups. He became instrumental in developing Team Challenge, the CCFA endurance training and fundraising program in Los Angeles and Orange County. 

“I really appreciated having the opportunity to be honest about the impact this disease had on my life, and I felt empowered to focus on what I could still do, rather than what I couldn’t do,” Sicklick said.

Sicklick retired from the Navy in 2012 after 28 years of service. He currently works in cybersecurity, and teaches at a community college.



The 3,500-member American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, located in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights, is the premier society for colon and rectal surgeons and other surgeons dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and practice of the treatment of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the colon, rectum and anus.  Its board-certified colon and rectal surgeons complete a residency in general surgery, plus an additional year in colon and rectal surgery, and pass an intensive examination conducted by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.  For more information, visit