This World IBD day, and every other day of the year, IBD Superheroes around the globe are fighting hard to cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
IBD encompasses two main forms, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, for which there is currently no cure. Some people may tell you different. It's often believed that removal of the diseased colon will 'cure' Ulcerative Colitis, but mine went down the drain (quite literally, but that's a story for another time) 10 years ago, and I can tell you otherwise.
Crohn's and Colitis symptoms primarily manifest in the digestive tract. These commonly include ulcers which produce blood and pus, inflammation and severe pain. Secondary symptoms however can manifest all over the body and cause problems including, but not limited to the skin, joints, muscles and eyes. Medications used to treat symptoms also come with a whole list of side effects of their own!
I have been fundraising for Inflammatory Bowel Disease since March 2014, which led to me winning the East Midlands Pride of Britain Fundraiser Award in September 2015. I, like many others it seems, did not take a proper look at where the hard earned donations were actually invested by the charity. Some Crohn's and Colitis charities actually invest very little in terms of donations into research. They assume that fundraising generally means that they are contributing to finding a cure for their condition, when in reality one of the most well-known Crohn's and Colitis charity in the UK actually only invested 10% of donations in 2015 to research, and a whopping 39% went to staff costs.
After my discovery, therefore, I would like to urge anyone looking to do some fundraising to explore a few charities first, and see which best align with their end goal. This is what myself and Corinne Vanessa Burns did before embarking on our #IBDSuperHeroes journey, as what we really wanted to do was be part of the solution. We have a passion for awareness raising and our main objective is to play a part in the eradication of Inflammatory Bowel Disease for good.
IBDSuperHeroes fundraise for Cure Crohn's and Colitis, a UK charity which donates 100% of donations to research with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for IBD. Predominately the #IBDSuperHeroes group was set up to build a team of IBD Superheroes, with one shared vision - to cure Crohn's and Colitis. Of course we raise awareness too as the more people we can get to understand that IBD is a lifelong, chronic illness, affecting much more than just the gut, the more chance we have a of encouraging people to make donations.
Over the last few years, there has undoubtedly been more coverage in the media about IBD than ever before, but unfortunately, much of the information that gets shared is not factual and often misleading. It is our job to set the record straight! It is on days like today that you will see across the World Wide Web, a flurry of activity from the IBD community, as we unite as one big team of IBD Superheroes to share our stories.
Our heroes are our biggest asset. They fight for what they believe in, as all true heroes should. It's not about complaining and telling the world what a hard time we've had, but a time for pride, and sometimes merely having a survived is enough.
You can join forces with IBD Superheroes yourself by joining the Facebook group, sharing our awareness posts which appear regularly across our social media channels, keeping up to date with updates on our blog or simply subscribe to our newsletter to be updated with the bigger aspects such as fundraisers and meet ups.
On World IBD Day, and every other day, IBDSuperHeroes assemble.