Posted on 18 May 2021
What is World IBD Day?
May 19, 2021 is World IBD Day. This day helps bring those in the IBD community together to raise awareness, create change in government and healthcare systems, and to share each other’s stories. World IBD Day was created by the European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFFCA) just over 10 years ago.
World IBD Day Events on May 19th
There are many exciting events happening to mark World IBD Day.
Here are some you can still register to join:
Ampersand Health – ‘Gut Feelings’ Community Meetup (7-8pm BST)
Join us to speak about how you adapt your life, coping with changes and challenges, with IBD. Share your experience and advice with others in the community on this special awareness day!Register Now!
Crohn’s and Colitis UK – Virtual Social Event (10:30AM-12PM BST)
Join CCUK as they bring people together to socialise, share their experiences and learn from one another this World IBD Day. This event is taking place in the morning and therefore does not coincide with Ampersand Health’s ‘Gut Feelings’ event!Register Now!
Sharing the experiences of individuals in the community is extremely important in our mission to raise awareness about IBD.
This World IBD Day, we are incredibly happy to share Anisha’s story.
My name is Anisha and I have lived with Ulcerative Colitis for over 13 years now.
I work in the mental health space and in my spare time, I am a health advocate and an Inclusive Dance and Zumba Instructor.
I first experienced symptoms of UC in 2008, when I was 24 years old. I had noticed that there was blood in my stool, and so I made an appointment with my GP, which marked the beginning of my journey of living with a chronic illness.
My diagnosis wasn’t a straight-forward process. Over two years, I lost a lot of weight, I struggled to eat and I was often in the toilet up to 20 times a day, doubled-over in pain. My sleep changed heavily, and I felt constantly exhausted. In 2010, I was finally given an ‘official’ diagnosis for Ulcerative Colitis, which honestly brought with it relief and hope for the future.
Over the years, I have been on many medications and it took over 10 years to find a medication that would keep me in remission. It has been a tiring and frustrating journey, but I am hopeful for the future because there has been progress in the years since I have been diagnosed in terms of the variety of medications and care options now available. However, there’s still a long way to go, which the National IBD Report, ‘Crohn’s and Colitis Care in the UK: The Hidden Cost and a Vision for Change’ highlights. Whilst there are pockets of excellent, best practice care, this report highlights the key recommendations for improving care for all IBD patients across the UK.
As a woman of South Asian descent, I am familiar with the stigma particularly in South Asian communities around health conditions and disabilities, which can make living with IBD even more challenging. I’ve heard people in the community say that living with a chronic illness or disability means ‘you’ve done something bad in a previous life and it’s your karma’, implying that your illness is somehow your fault and that ‘you should pray more’.
But – I am more than just my condition.
I work full-time, I love to dance and I love to travel. And yes, managing my IBD often feels like a full-time job. I don’t get a day off from living with colitis and it is exhausting. However, I don’t just want to survive living with colitis, I want to be able to thrive. Everything I do on a daily basis, takes into consideration the fact that I live with this disease.
I choose to live positively with IBD and its challenges. This is why World IBD Day is so important to raise awareness for all those affected by IBD around the world and bring the community together.Follow Anisha on Instagram!