By Jazmine Ella Blackah
Famous landmarks will be lit in purple for a global campaign to help increase awareness of World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day.
On May 19 famous landmarks in over fifty countries on five continents will be lit up in purple, with the hope of increasing people’s awareness about the daily challenges of living with IBD.
Countries taking part and planning to light their landmarks purple include, Egypt, who are turning their pyramids and Sphinx purple.
Estonia are lighting up the communications tower, Tallin TV Tower (Tallinna Teletorn), which is over 310 meters tall.
The Mansion House in Ireland will be lit in purple on May 19.
This famous building has been home to the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.
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Rebecca Kaplan, 32, public affairs and social media manager at Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in New York said: “Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis impact people across the globe.
“By bringing together patients from various countries on World IBD Day, we ensure that we are doing all we can to increase disease awareness, sharing the power of the collective voice of our community, and that we are using our resources to find cures for these debilitating diseases.”
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are just some examples of forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which affects 300,000 people in the UK and millions more around the world.
This global campaign is led by The European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations.
The charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK will broadcast three Facebook Live sessions on May 19, which will be connected to this year’s theme, #LiveWellWithIBD.
Medical experts, supporters and a secret celebrity will be interviewed and there will also be question and answer sessions with them.
Megan Evans, 22, a volunteer for Crohn’s and Colitis UK Leeds and District Network, said she was diagnosed with colitis just before her 18th birthday and finding other people with the disease helped her as she found it a great support.
She said: “At first I didn’t know anything about the disease at all and like many other people I didn’t understand what was going on.”
Miss Evans said this year for World IBD Day local people can sign up for a pack and bake to raise some money for the charity.
She said: “We also encourage people to have a ‘go purple’ day at work or in schools, which is where people wear purple because that is the colour of the charity.”
The Leeds and District Network will be hosting a race night where people can bet on horses on May 18.
Miss Evans said: “It’s just about having fun and raising awareness and just to get the message out about IBD.
“World IBD Day is about the hope of finding a cure and getting people talking about it because it is a bit of a taboo illness.”
Miss Evans explains how having ulcerative colitis affects her.
Francesca Russo, 23, the co-lead volunteer at Crohn’s and Colitis UK Leeds and District Network said: “It’s really important for us to raise awareness of the condition to help remove some of the stigma surrounding it and get people talking about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative Colitis.
“Raising awareness is important for those who already have the conditions so that we can make an invisible illness ‘visible’ for a day, but it’s also particularly important to me to make people aware of the symptoms as this may help with earlier diagnosis if the symptoms prompt people to investigate them sooner.
“We really want a strong social media presence this year and want to turn Facebook and Twitter purple, so we’re really interested in getting people to send us photos of any events they’re doing to celebrate.”
Fact-file about Crohn’s and colitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease is a term that is mainly used to describe ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which are long-term conditions involving inflammation of the gut.
- Every 30 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative Colitis.
- In the UK there are currently at least 300,000 people diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease.
- Possible symptoms include diarrhoea (sometimes with blood), severe pain, extreme fatigue, and dramatic weight loss.
- At the moment there is no cure for Crohn’s and colitis and the national charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK are working to change this.
- Drugs and sometimes surgery can be used to provide relief from symptoms for a long period of time.
- One in 210 people are living with the life-long and possibly life-threatening conditions.
- Microscopic colitis is a less common form of IBD and it affects the large bowel (colon and rectum). There are two main forms: lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis, which are both very similar conditions. The name microscopic is used because it differs from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as a microscope is needed to see the inflammation of the bowel lining in tissue samples.
- Source- Crohn’s and Colitis UK
Leeds man training for London Marathon to raise money for Crohn’s and colitis charity
A Leeds man who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a teenager is training for the London Marathon to raise money to help others with the disease.
Peter Lafin, 36, who is a data scientist, was diagnosed when he was a 16 and is now trying to raise £2.960 to cover the cost of research for 26.2 days by running 26.2 miles.
Mr Lafin is currently training for the challenge on April 22 to raise money for the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
He said: “I’m excited and a little bit anxious.”
Mr Lafin explained he has done running in the past and this has helped with his illness but this is a whole new challenge for him.
Mr Lafin said: “If I just help one person, that’s a plus for me.
“Crohn’s can be very embarrassing.
It makes you worry in social situations.”
He said he was fairly accepting when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s but he missed out on a lot of things.
Mr Lafin said it was hard battling school and being ill but it has been more controlled in the past 15 years.
During training he did a 21 mile run, from Wharfedale Hospital in Otley to St James’s Hospital in Leeds.
Doctors, nurses and fellow patients from the IBD service at St James’s Hospital joined him.
Mr Lafin has currently raised £1,026.60.