This is a photo of me (Michael) and my daughter. My daughter lives and works near Sheffield. This photo was taken in 2016 in our garden in East Kilbride during one of her visits. It’s not the best quality photo, but it’s one of my favourites. My daughter gave me her permission to publish this blog, but she asked if I could withhold her name in order to protect her privacy, especially as she comes to terms with her recent diagnosis.
Earlier this year (2019) my daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. For years she experienced the often painful symptoms of this inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She had lots of visits to specialists and underwent lots of tests before the diagnosis. Sadly, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. There is no magic medication that can be taken, and no food or lifestyle changes that can be made to make it go away. This disease is chronic and lifelong. There can be times when symptoms lesson, but there can also be flare ups when symptoms increase, result in time off work, could lead to hospital admissions and may ultimately require very invasive life changing even life saving surgery.
When my daughter told me about her diagnosis it was very emotional for both of us. There were tears, lots of hugs, but more importantly a feeling of closeness and support. We had both been through a lot as father and daughter over the years, and we were determined to adapt and face this new challenge just as we had done with the many other challenges from the past.
My daughter talked with me about the support she was getting from IBD specialists in the NHS, and also more informal support from IBD forums where she gets to talk with and listen to other sufferers of this disease. She also showed me the Crohn’s & Colitis UK website. She showed me the ‘I can’t wait’ card she applied for on the website together with her own Radar key to access public toilets that may otherwise be locked. These special keys are kept on the premises where members of the public can access public toilets, but this system relies on staff knowing where the key is and the staff member accessing the key fairly promptly. Even the most efficient businesses with well trained staff can’t always be expected to be as quick as an IBD sufferer may need them to be, so having an ‘I can’t wait’ card and a Radar key is a valuable possession.
Since that first look at the Crohn’s & Colitis UK website I have revisited many times. I have found it really helpful as a family member of someone with Crohn’s disease. I have learned a lot. I have learned about the medical and social side of this disease. I have learned about some challenges I hadn’t even considered. I have also learned about the many IBD sufferers who not only go about their daily lives in relationships, in families, in social settings, and in the workplace, but are also actively involved in exercise, sport, outdoor and fundraising activities. I discovered an area of the website where people and businesses are encouraged to help support and fundraise for the charity. Crohn’s & Colitis UK have various events throughout the year where people can take part in fundraising walks and runs across the UK. As a family we enjoy the outdoors, and my daughter is keen to take part in one of these organised events in 2020. In the mean time the website also had information about how individuals and businesses can plan and organise their own events and fundraising activities. I chatted with my wife, Paula, about this and we decided as a business that Mr & Mrs Gardens Limited could do something to support my daughter, others with the disease, and Crohn’s & Colitis UK.
Paula and I decided we would adopt Crohn’s & Colitis UK as the chosen charity for Mr & Mrs Gardens Limited. As a business we will be looking at various ways we can raise awareness about inflammatory bowel disease, and also raise funds for Crohn’s & Colitis UK. We already have our fundraising pack, and we have a few ideas about how our gardening business can raise funds for this charity.
You can follow what we are getting up to in terms of raising awareness about Crohn’s & Colitis UK and our fundraising activities by keeping an eye on our social media channels and our website.
‘It takes guts’ to live with Crohn’s & Colitis, and we are determined to help my daughter and other people living with this disease by supporting Crohn’s & Colitis UK .
Mr & Mrs Gardens Limited