85,000 Australians with Crohn’s and colitis and their families often struggle with psychological distress when living with inflammatory bowel disease.
I know this distress and struggle first-hand. It has been a year since I lost my brother Phil to Crohn’s disease, and the pain doesn’t go away.
Since being diagnosed with the disease at 14, Phil lived a life of chronic fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite, arthritis, internal bleeding, blood infections and countless surgeries – too much for a young man at the peak of his life. My brother lost time at school, missed out on opportunities to participate in social and physical activities. He lost his chance at a normal life.
Phil (pictured right) was very brave and being a male, he kept quiet about how much he was suffering inside. Every day, despite the pain, exhaustion and hardship, my brother took advantage of all that life could offer him, travelling, partying and pursuing his education to achieve his career goals and dreams.
It broke my heart to see him being torn down by not only the physical complications but by the debilitating psychological symptoms of Crohn’s. He was depressed and anxious about his health. He tried everything to manage his psychological wellbeing but I think he knew that with the diagnosis of further problems his life wasn’t going to be ‘normal’ again.
Tragically, Phil died from suicide last year. He was 27.
Like Phil, 1 in every 2 Australians living with Crohn’s and colitis struggle with psychological distress. The stigma of living with a bowel condition, and the lack of awareness and support from the community makes them feel alone.
As a sister, the least I can do is help raise awareness and funds in support of thousands of Australians battling this illness alone.
This is why my friends and I decided to raise money in honour of my brother and in doing so, support the work Crohn’s & Colitis Australia do to help people like Phil and their families. Earlier this year, four of us – Kristy Leggat, Daniel Holt, Julia Donahoe and I (pictured left) participated in a charity swim to Rottnest Island. The Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island off the Western Australia coast.
Every single one of us was invested in this swim and its cause. In one way or the other, we all understood how friends and family suffer when a loved one is enduring such an unforgiving disease. The swim brought us together and allowed us to share our grief, which was important for us after struggling through such a harrowing time in our lives.
The Rottnest Channel Swim and other fundraising events we hosted gave all involved an opportunity to shift the focus from our heartache and take positive action while also managing to raise more than $7,000 for CCA, exceeding our target goal thanks to the generosity of all those who understand the dreadful psychological impact of living with a serious bowel disease.
I don’t want any other family to go through this, ever. I truly believe that donating to Crohn & Colitis Australia will help make a difference to the thousands of Australians battling this disease. The support and programs provided by this organisation are vital for helping the community understand both the physical and psychological impact of the disease that often go unmentioned.
A donation today will help those who are struggling with the disease to understand they are not fighting the pain alone.
To donate, please complete the web form below any time until Sunday 30 June to be issued with an instant tax receipt. Alternatively, you can call CCA on 1800 138 029 for more information on regular giving.
Your support means CCA can continue to provide vital support programs for people living with IBD, their families and friends.
I would appreciate anything you can offer for the cause.
If you do not receive an email receipt within an hour, or experience any payment processing issues, please call Crohn’s & Colitis Australia on 1800 138 029 (option 2) or email [email protected].