A YOUNG woman is determined to raise awareness of a disease which caused her to lose more than three stone.
Jennifer Powell, 22, wants more people to know about Crohn’s disease – a condition which affects 240,000 people in the UK.
The Bradley woman suffered for months after being misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
“I nearly lost my life and it could have been sorted if the doctors had just given me some tests,” she said.
“I felt sick and fatigued and I lost a lot of blood. The doctors gave me tablets for cramp but they didn’t work.
“I went to accident and emergency at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary three times and they said it was IBS.
“I spent hundreds of pounds on medication for IBS which didn’t work.”
Jennifer’s weight plummeted to just six stone.
“I couldn’t even get out of bed to make a meal,” she said.
Jennifer’s saviour came in the unlikely form of her 17-year-old sister, Lauren, who was studying health and social care at Kirklees College.
“She was studying Crohn’s disease at college and noticed that my symptoms were similar,” said Jennifer. “That’s when I pushed to see a specialist.”
Jennifer was diagnosed with Crohn’s, an inflammation of the intestine in March, some 18 months after she first became ill. She had surgery on her intestine two months later.
Jennifer is now recovering.
“I’ve put on four stone so I’m now above my original weight,” she said.
“I feel a lot better but Crohn’s is unpredictable – it could come back at any time.”
Jennifer plans to organise a fundraiser next year for the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
She said: “I want to do a gala event next summer to raise money and I’m in talks with the Health Lottery about them sponsoring me.”
But Jennifer hopes to raise awareness as well as money.
“I don’t want other people to suffer as I did,” she said.
Anyone interested in helping Jennifer can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The condition, which causes the intestine to inflame, is most common among people aged between 15 and 35.
Symptoms include cramp, fatigue, sickness, joint pain and weight loss.
The disease can sometimes be dealt with by medication but, in severe cases, the damaged part of the intestine has to be surgically removed.
Crohn’s affects one in every 250 people.