About the End of Year Festive Appeal
The last time you were knocked down by life events, did you have someone there to help you up again?
For a lot of people facing a life with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the support they need is often few and far between, which can lead to crippling isolation and more severe disease.
“I found that the whole process of getting diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and finding treatment doesn’t really give you any support beyond your physical health. There was nothing for the grief that comes with being told of having a chronic illness in your early 20s.”
It cannot be overstated how important extra support is during the unpredictable symptoms, the pain, the diagnosis, the uncertainty, and the grief of losing the life and future people like Megan once had.
Less than 5% of people with IBD have access to a mental health clinician at their IBD service even though a psychological condition is the most frequently occurring comorbidity.
Unfortunately, Crohn’s and colitis are still very much a mystery to many people, and this makes it difficult for people living with these diseases to receive understanding or even acknowledgment of their experiences. That’s why we need your help to ensure that everyone has someone to turn to on those dark days. A donation of any size will mean that you have shown a person with IBD that they are not alone.
Feeling alone, is a common feeling for those living with Crohn’s or colitis. It doesn’t help that being able to go out with friends and family get-togethers are now daunting and anxiety-ridden events. Many people with IBD will withdraw from their community because they are too sick to get out of bed, in hospital too often, or out of fear and shame that they look different because of medication or ongoing symptoms.
“I struggled with mouth ulcers, hair loss, nausea, weight gain and water retention (from the corticosteroids I was taking), arthritic joints, bleeding and urgency, chronic fatigue, severe acid reflux, and almost constant pain. This impacted my daily habits because everything I ate seemed to make me more unwell, and the pain prevented me from sleeping at night. At times, I struggled to open my mouth properly from the mouth ulcers.”
Many people will hide what they are going through because they’re afraid of the responses they will receive like hurtful advice, disbelief, or a simple lack of empathy.
That’s why opportunities to come together with like-minded people with similar experiences of IBD are vital. While CCA continues to increase awareness of Crohn’s and colitis in the broader community Youth Empowerment Programs (YEP!), Kid’s Fun Day, Camp Fearless and Young Adult Support (YAS) are important and highly valued by people with IBD in their lives.
“It’s the work of organisations like Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA) which showed me that as a young person with IBD I didn’t need to feel scared or alone, and that I didn’t need to set my sights for a life without the things I love. CCA has allowed me to channel my passion for decreasing IBD- and stoma-related stigma into helping develop their new Young Adult Support program and I hope this will help those newly diagnosed to feel part of a community, and connect people with a support network of doctors, allied health professionals and new friends who understand them.”
During this festive season, we need your help to continue running these important programs and events that can be life-changing for young people and those newly diagnosed. Your gift will help them attend one of these events which will create new friendships and prove to them that they can live fearlessly with this incurable condition.
Please donate today by completing the attached form and returning it in the enclosed reply-paid envelope, or donate online at www.crohnsandcolitis.org.au, and a tax-deductible receipt will be emailed to you. If you prefer, you can call CCA on 1800 138 029 to make a donation or for more information on regular giving to support CCA’s work and the Crohn’s and colitis community.