Brave Emma raises disease awareness

AN Ipswich woman whose life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease is today gearing up to raise awareness of the illness.

AN Ipswich woman whose life was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease is today gearing up to raise awareness of the illness.

Emma Scrivener, 27, from Norwich Road, has endured regular treatment and two major operations since her diagnosis seven years ago.

In a bid to highlight the illness and to raise funds for the National Association for Colitis and Crohn's disease, Miss Scrivener will be painting the town red on Friday when the charity stages its annual Red Hot Day.

People up and down the country will be taking part in the event, carrying out a various activities, including drinking red wine and wearing red nail polish.

Miss Scrivener said: “I will be keeping it low key, baking red cakes with my daughter and wearing red all day.”

It has been a difficult time for Miss Scrivener, who in the last few years has realised the effects of the disease. Although it had lain relatively dormant after her first operation, it flared up again in March last year.

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Miss Scrivener said: “I occasionally suffered from abdominal pains, but last year there was a death in the family and the condition got progressively worse.

“I found it hard to walk and sometimes I felt completely disabled.”

She said the treatment that she was given had terrible side effects and it was a struggle to cope, especially having to look after her five-year-old daughter, Eleanor, at the same time.

Miss Scrivener said: “Physically I couldn't pick her up and driving was hard, so my mum used to have to collect her from school.

“My family were incredible and workmates very supportive, they were absolutely amazing.”

Miss Scrivener finds it easy to talk about the condition but understands that to others it can be difficult and embarrassing, which is why she hopes Red Hot Day will make a difference.

She said: “When I was diagnosed, I felt very alone and scared as I thought it was something older people got. This is a misconception and since then I have learned of many younger people with the disease.”

Have you suffered from Crohn's disease? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

About Crohn's disease.

It is a chronic inflammatory disease, primarily involving the small and large intestine.

Named after Burrill Crohn, the American gastroenterologist who first described the disease in 1932.

Crohn's disease is usually diagnosed in persons in their teens or twenties.

Symptoms include abdominal pains, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and weight loss.

Treatment includes medications that are anti-inflammatory, immune suppressors or antibiotics.

Surgery can be necessary in severe cases.

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