Barnoldswick IBD sufferer backs awareness campaign (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)

by Symptom Advice on May 20, 2012

Barnoldswick IBD sufferer backs awareness campaign

3:00pm Friday 18th may 2012 in Pendle by Lisa Woodhouse

REFLECTIONS Angela Stevenson’s condition has curtailed so much of her active life

ANGELA Stevenson used to attend the gym three times a week, play badminton and swim regularly.

But all that changed when she was struck down with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 11 years ago.

The 35-year-old from Barnoldswick said she would also go trekking or camping and even climbed Ben Nevis before her illness.

But like the majority of sufferers she found it difficult to keep up her active lifestyle.

Now she is backing an awareness campaign, led by Olympic athletes, to help people with her condition get back into exercise.

According to a survey by Crohn’s and Colitis UK a high proportion of people living with the disease have been forced to stop taking part in sport or fitness activities, as a result of their illness.

The charity has teamed up with a number of athletes with the condition, such as Olympic gold medal winning rower, Sir Steve Redgrave, footballer Russell Martin, Paralympic weight lifter Ali Jawad and dancer Della Thielemay to highlight the symptoms and offer support.

Angela, an occupational therapist, said: “I was a generally a very active outdoor pursuits type of person.

“Since my IBD symptoms started, I would go through phases of exhaustion for no reason and loose weight rapidly without changing my diet. I almost died following a massive flare-up requiring surgical intervention.

“Since then it took years to build up enough stamina to get through a full working day.”

Angela has undergone multiple surgeries for the condition and hopes to gradually increase the number of fitness activities she takes part in.

Angela says her husband has been very understanding about her condition for the past 11 years.

She said: “As a result of surgery I am unable to have children and am currently being assessed as to whether I can have IVF. “I am happy living with my IBD and accept that we have to do the best in our situation by being realistic but maintaining our goals and aspirations in life.”

She said key issues affecting her involvement in sports were lack of toilet facilities, lack of privacy, fatigue and a weak bladder as a result of the surgery.

Around 10,000 people are diagnosed annually with these incurable, fluctuating conditions.

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