A former Magherafelt lady is heading up the campaign for better awareness and service provision for those suffering with Crohn’s and Colitis across Northern Ireland.
Audrey Derby has been living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) for 40 years and believes services have improved in recent years and welcomed the decision by Health Minister Simon Hamilton to reveal that he, too, is an IBD sufferer.
Audrey is currently the Vice-Chair of Crohn’s and Colitis UK (Northern Ireland), a support and information group which has over 400 members ranging of all ages.
The group meets regularly in Belfast, but its members also try to travel to other areas for meetings, with one taking place in Cookstown in February of this year.
Audrey told the Mail: “Misdiagnosis is a large part of the problem for those who are suffering from IBD or Crohn’s. Its symptoms can be confused with irritable bowel syndrome. Indeed, it has only been in the last 18 months that we have had as many IBD nurses in Northern Ireland, but things are definitely improving.
“It was great to see the Health Minister make it public that he has been living with Crohn’s Disease. Raising awareness is such a big thing for sufferers because it means people are more open to talking about it.”
You can find out more about the support group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 0845 130 6819.