As I'm sure you will have been made aware there has been a LOT of negative press within the UK these past few days which have been unjustly directed at the IBD community. The press have had their say....now it is my turn to have my say!
Never would I ever have imagined or envisioned when I began blogging back in December 2013 that there would come a day when I would launch myself head first into a battle with the national press right here within the UK. Nor would I have thought I would be up to such a monuments challenge for I am at the end of the day a lone blogger who fights a daily battle with a life long, challenging, painful, incurable and life altering illness called Ulcerative Colitis, I can only do so much to stem the tide of mislead headlines; but I had to at-least try. Do not be fooled though....I have the backing of such a STRONG, PROUD and PASSIONATE IBD community who stand at my side which intern creates an unstoppable force. Today I find myself being a front runner in the ongoing battle to provide the 5 MILLION people worldwide who have Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis) a direct link to channel and voice their opinions through myself/ my blog and my efforts to raise awareness of IBD. Where once stood these shy and secretive individuals now stands as an inspirational, strong and powerful community of members who all have transformed right in front of my eyes - what a privilege. For I feel very much at the centre of them all. I am lucky enough to be able to communicate with these bright individuals on a daily basis and becoming an IBD advocate is something I take very seriously. I feel it is my role to fiercely defend these gracious people who do not deserve scrutiny such as that of which we have had directed at us within the last few days from the national press.
If the media thought they would target the IBD community for their own gain - whether this be to gain more readers and scrape together an extra bit of profit from sales of such nonsense newspapers then more fool them, for they have NO IDEA of the anger they have provoked and the amount of upset they have caused. To say that they have picked the wrong community to target would be an understatement. I am telling you now - we will not go down without a fight and we will not accept untrue, degrading headlines such as:
*headline taken from The Independent Newspaper* - Crohn's Disease hospital admissions surge 300% because of junk food and antibiotics (or so The Independent thinks puh!)
The IBD community crave SUPPORT, UNDERSTANDING and FUNDING for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis as these illnesses are so poorly understood. To imply that we've brought these illnesses upon ourselves is hurtful. The truth is that WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT CAUSED INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE!!! <-- this is the truth in its rawest form. Some of the brightest minds within the whole world are yet to be able to say what causes Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. So how any form of the media feel they are above some of the greatest minds on the planet really baffles me!
Hear the truth - not the lies the media want to portray. The best way to explain what is going on with the research into what causes and triggers both Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis is to use a quote by Donald Rumsfeld....
For example: 'There are known knowns' we KNOW things such as stress and certain food groups can/could 'trigger' a flare up of the symptoms of Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
'There are known unknowns' we KNOW that there are things WE DO NOT KNOW about Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis such as we do NOT know if junk food leads to or causes IBD.
Finally 'There are unknown unknowns' there are things that we do not even know that we do not know about Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. There are possibly things within the environment/body that we are yet to even consider which could be causing Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
THE TRUTH IS THAT WE DO NOT KNOW!!! WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE THINGS THAT WE THINK WE KNOW ARE THE CORRECT THINGS THAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CROHN'S DISEASE OR ULCERATIVE COLITIS....
Why? I hear you ask - BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS THAT INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE EXISTS APART FROM THOSE IN THE MEDICAL/SCIENTIFIC ROLES OR PATIENTS WHO HAVE THE ILLNESS THEMSELVES.
Why? Why does nobody in the wider outside world not know about IBD? BECAUSE THE MEDIA WILL NOT GIVE US ANY AIRTIME to explain to the wider world what Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis are and to explain what debilitating effects these illnesses can have on the 5 MILLION battling this illness every single day of their lives.
Why? My best guess is because people are ignorant to the fact that IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is NOT IN ANY WAY IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and this perception will not change unless the MEDIA SUPPORTS US INSTEAD OF ATTACKING US, TRIVIALIZING OR DOWNPLAYING THE SERIOUSNESS OF IBD!!
Instead of hindering us, the media should be HELPING us to make both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis household names. Why I hear you ask is it important to make them household names such as 'Cancer' 'Heart Disease' 'Diabetes' and 'Alzheimers'? Because it is only when people recognize that Inflammatory Bowel Disease is LIFE CHANGING, LIFE LONG, INCURABLE and at times DEADLY that we will get any help with funding into research or the wider public to support us in our fundraising efforts! We are no longer talking about a few cases of tummy ache - we have an up-rise of confirmed cases. Why? WE DO NOT KNOW! I will bet money on it that it is not down to eating vast amounts junk food or the overuse of antibiotics alone as was suggested in the latest newspaper headlines. If statistics can be proven that there is indeed an up-rise in the number of cases then even more important is the job of getting these illnesses recognized. Inflammatory Bowel Disease does not discriminate just as Cancer does not discriminate who it chooses to target. Whether you are rich, poor, purple, green, or a member of staff who works for in media business - YOU may be next!
So national media - do not sit in your squishy office chair chuckling to yourselves about what stupendous RIDICULOUS and insulting headlines you can come up with because I for one, wouldn't wish the torment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease upon anyone!
Here is a link if you would like to read 'My story' of battling Ulcerative Colitis and the impact it can have on an individual. By CLICKING HERE you will find INFORMATION about what Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are. EDUCATE YOURSELF before you make any rash decision that could HURT, UPSET and ANGER a whole community of bright minds who are already dealing with oh so very much!!