LAURA Colley, of Baldivis, has been living with Crohn’s Disease since she was 12-year-old.
The disease affects her digestive system, causing abdominal pains, diarrhoea and constipation. She sometimes needs to go to the toilet more than 10 times a day.
Crohn’s disease has affected every aspect of Miss Colley’s life: from school, study, work, her social life and relationships.
“It is a very confronting disease,” she said.
“No one wants to talk about these things, like going to the toilet.
“I have not been able to work because I was too sick and I struggled to find work,” she said.
“It is difficult because I might need to miss a day or need a week or two off at short notice.”
Miss Colley said the cause of Crohn’s disease was not known and there was no cure. All she could do was treat the symptoms.
To raise money and awareness, Miss Colley has taken part in the Sydney City 2 Surf and has gone skydiving.
Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month
One in 250 Australians live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Throughout May, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia (CCA) will help raise awareness of IBD, encouraging Australians diagnosed with IBD to join a conversation about the challenges of the invisible disease.
While community awareness of IBD has grown over the past decade, the stigma associated with bowel disease persists.
IBD patients are often reluctant to speak out about their illness for fear of embarrassment and shame. As a result, no one really understands the impact this chronic disease can have, not only on physical health but also on mental wellbeing.
CCA provide resources, information and support services and access to people in the same position.