May 19th was World IBD Day and I think it was a big success. The main idea behind May 19th is to raise awareness about IBD and as #WorldIBDDay was trending on Twitter (albeit for a short period of time) I’m pretty sure we achieved that by some margin.

#WorldIBDDay Trending On Twitter
#WorldIBDDay Trending On Twitter

Despite being a largely online driven event, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of face to face discussions this kicked off. I had several people in the office approach me asking questions about how I’m affected. Some knew about IBD but didn’t know I suffered and others knew very little or nothing about it.

It was also great to see people who don’t normally talk openly about IBD sharing their own experiences online. The more people who talk about life with IBD then the easier it becomes for others to open up. The online IBD community really is a great place. After all, who better to provide support and comfort than someone who knows exactly what you’re going through?

I’m really proud of the part I played this week with regards to raising awareness by lighting up a local landmark. I want to give a massive thank you to The City of Sunderland Council and The National Trust for agreeing to turn Penshaw Monument Purple for May 18th and May 19th. I’d also like to thank The Sunderland Echo for interviewing me and running with the story. Without this many would have wondered our local landmark was purple. On the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page alone it received 702 likes and 104 shares and it was really well received elsewhere as well. This also helped link up many people within the region who suffer with either Crohn’s Disease or Colitis.

The Sunderland Echo's story on Crohn's and Colitis UK
The Sunderland Echo’s story on Crohn’s and Colitis UK

A big thank you as well goes to my friends and family who put up with the many tweets and Facebook posts during the day. I know I probably flooded some timelines but everything was really well received. And I mustn’t forget Salt Angel Blue who let me run an article explaining what the day was all about.

Lastly, I think everybody with IBD who tweeted, posted on Facebook, shared their story and photographs deserves a huge pat on the back. I found it quite exhausting keeping up with everything that was going on! Lets hope that the next #WorldIBDDay is even bigger!

I’m interested to hear what everyone else thought about the day, both those with IBD and those without. What went well, what didn’t, what could be done differently? I personally think that the overall message that we’re trying to communicate could maybe have been better aligned to try and do more instead of JUST raising awareness.

Standing in front of the Purple Penshaw Monument
Standing in front of the Purple Penshaw Monument

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