Vital support at hand for Mandurah residents with Crohn’s disease and colitis


Support group co-ordinator Kay Williams.
Support group co-ordinator Kay Williams.

A GROUP in Mandurah is providing vital support to people who have Crohn’s disease and colitis.

A GROUP in Mandurah is providing vital support to people who have Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Crohnies Mandurah support group co-ordinator Kay Williams said Crohn’s and colitis were lifelong gastrointestinal disorders collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

“They can be debilitating diseases which are largely unpredictable, with significant variation in the degree and pattern of symptoms affecting each person,” she said.

“More than five million people live with IBD worldwide and 75,000 of these people are Australians.

“It appears that Australia has one of the highest rates of IBD prevalence and incidence in the world (at) around one in 250 people.”

The group began more than four years ago and 18 to 20 members attend.

There are also six ‘silent’ members who communicate on social media because they can’t attend.

“Since the group’s inception, there has been growth in support, friendship and babies – from zero to seven babies – as generally (it’s) thought unlikely for patients to conceive,” Ms Williams said.

“At one meeting, the group was given a map of the toilets of Mandurah – highly crucial to IBD patients – and it displays two toilets out in the ocean.

“One member’s response was ‘Yes, we have used those many times’.”

Ms Williams described Crohn’s disease as “dreadful, incapacitating, frustrating and in some instances, life-threatening”.

“The most important thing for IBD patients to remember is that IBD doesn’t have to stop them living their life, or chasing their dreams,” she said.

“Crohn’s and Colitis Australia provides a whole range of tools, reliable information and support services, including access to an inspiring, engaged community of people like the Mandurah support group who are in exactly the same position.

“The group has supported each other on many levels through hardship, sharing of information, stories, advocacy, friendship and through times that have been extreme – surgery, ongoing medications, appointments, stressful situations, pain and heartache.”

As part of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month, on World IBD Day on Friday, May 19, famous landmarks will be illuminated in purple to raise awareness.

Find the support group at www.facebook.com/Crohns ColitisSupportGroupMandurah or visit www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au.

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