21 March 2014
Making a difference.
Aside from the hoards of wonderful people who put their body's, time and endurance on the line to raise such vital funds towards research for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis there are those diamonds who are working hard on raising awareness of these illnesses. Of course the fundraising is an essential part in the journey to finding a cure but so is the great work done by those doing their part to raise awareness. For many people have simply never heard of Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Thank's to the continuous work from the IBD community thankfully things are beginning to change and people are becoming more willing to talk about it. So with this said, I contacted one of these shinning stars - Michael to ask him a few questions about his new campaign to raise awareness...
Hi Michael, you have a new campaign called 'Colitis Awareness GO' can you tell us what it's all about?
'Colitis Awareness Go' is simply about increasing the awareness of IBD, specifically Ulcerative colitis, amongst young people in the UK. It also aims to promote the charity 'Crohn's and Colitis UK' - if people don't know about the disease, they won't know about the charity and visa versa.
I saw you had already done your first talks about IBD, how did they go?
My first two talks at one high school's sixth form went amazingly well. The students were very respectful and listened intently to what i had to say. Some of the information i gave hit harder than they expected, and i even saw a few tears. But it left them all feeling positive about their own lives, i think.
You're also hoping to raise funds towards much needed research at these talks, how are you hoping to do this?
By asking for donations at my talks, and by selling unique "Ulcerative Colitis, Increase Awareness" wrist bands. All profit made on these will go to the charity [Crohn's and Colitis UK] and I hope that they will also become a talking point amongst friends, which in turn will increase awareness.
What do you wish people knew about Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease?
I wish people just knew they existed! Its so hard to live with a disease that has so many challenging symptoms, and have no one know about it or understand it! It makes it much harder to talk about with friends.
If you are a friend to someone who has Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's Disease how can they support them?
Ask them, daily, how they're doing; how and what their symptoms are like, how their medications are going etc, just seem interested. Nothing sucks more than suffering and feeling that no one cares.
What would your advice be to those wanting to do a campaign similar to 'Colitis awareness GO' in their own country?
Just speak to as many people as you can about it. Don't sit in silence, don't feel ashamed and don't feel alone. Get out there and talk to people and before you know it, you'll have met a tonne of people with the same condition as you!
You write your own blog so tell everyone a bit about it and how they can follow your journey with Ulcerative Colitis...
I document my journey with UC weekly, daily on an interesting week. Its www.ibdsurvivor.blogspot.co.uk and it is full of information about my journey with colitis, pre and post ileostomy, and provides advice for those that are struggling through similar things.
How can people in the UK get in touch with you if they want to nominate their school/college/university for you to come and visit them for a talk on IBD?
If you want to get in touch, PLEASE email me at email@example.com or post on my blog. I would be honoured to come and speak to you all.
Thank you Michael for taking the time to tell everyone about your brilliant campaign 'Colitis Awareness GO'.
It goes without saying that I could have interviewed a number of people about their on going campaigns to raise awareness for both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I chose to speak to Michael not only because it was he who inspired me to start my own blog about my journey with Ulcerative Colitis but because I think his campaign will really make a difference. IBD effects mostly the younger generation and so for Michael to be talking to schools and engaging with the students who it is most likely to effect I feel will make a huge difference. Hopefully some will gain strength and courage in seeing Michael discuss his Ulcerative Colitis so bravely but also I hope others will have a better understanding and make life a little more comfortable for those living with IBD.
I'm sure you will all join me in wishing him nothing but the best of luck for 'Colitis Awareness GO' and for continued improvement in his own fight with Ulcerative Colitis. x
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