I’m a 30 year old guy and I live in a gorgeous little market town called Beverley in East Yorkshire. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2013. I’m one of three boys to my parents Len and Trish and have a big family around me of nieces, sister in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles who all make up a massive part of my life.
My family is everything to me and I would do anything for them. They’ve helped me grow into the person that I am today and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. My mum is a fellow IBD-er and has ulcerative colitis.
I work in learning and development for a well known household brand. I’m fortunate in some ways that I am actually in a field-based role which means my “office” is based at home. On the unfortunate side, a field-based role includes a lot of travel to and from different sites and head office which has caused some difficulties over the last few years!
So why write for IBDrelief?! For a few years now I’ve wanted to start volunteering for many different reasons, the main one being I have this huge desire to give something back to people. It’s why I do the role I do, I love to see people develop, grow and if I can help a fellow human being when they are in a time of need - there’s no greater gift, right? Even though volunteering is something I’ve wanted to do for a while I’ve never been able to commit to anything due to time commitments and the travel with the job I do. Every charity is important and they all do such a massive job and have huge impact on those who need them but being diagnosed with Crohn’s gave me the certainty that I wanted to do some sort of volunteering for those who I can relate too, who get it or who I can help with it and also for those who are much much sicker than I am (and I’ve been pretty ill over the last two-and-half years).
And then IBDrelief came along, the fantastic work that Seb and Emily have been doing is already being recognised with awards and grants and it’s something I’ve been following from the very beginning - and they wanted real life people to write about their experiences... so here I am putting the two things together and I am going to keep this as real as possible. There will be definitely chapters and entries that you might think, “Wow that’s probably too much information” especially if you’re a family member of someone with IBD or are newly diagnosed yourself. Hopefully this totally honest approach will help you prepare for what might happen.
You’ve probably read somewhere already that IBD is really individual - and they’re right - everyone’s disease treats them differently and getting to know your ‘version’ of IBD is really important. I’m also pretty sure though for those fellow sufferers out there you’ll be able to relate to what I’ve written and find some comfort that you’re not the only one!