ACT Construction (Europe) Ltd has chosen to support the charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, this year with a number of fund-raising activities. We hope to raise awareness of the conditions after a close family member was diagnosed with colitis.

Murray, who is the younger son of managing director, Ken Godsman, underwent surgery to remove his colon last year, leaving him with a colostomy bag. Ken said: “It’s been a tough period for Murray and colitis is a disease not many people know much about. As a company and a family we want to raise more awareness and to encourage people to donate to the charity, Crohn’s & Colitis UK.”

The fund-raising is already off to a start with more than £4750 collected so far through JustGiving.

Ken’s daughter Carla, who also works with ACT, will also raise funds when she competes in a Tough Mudder event this year. Carla said: “It has been difficult watching my brother being diagnosed with the debilitating condition and seeing him go through surgery, as well as the recovery.

“We want to do all we can to help other people in the same situation and to support Crohn’s & Colitis UK, which does such amazing work supporting the Crohn’s and Colitis community and raising awareness.”

Murray has been diagnosed with colitis.

What are Crohn’s and colitis?

A spokesperson from Crohn’s & Colitis UK confirmed many people have never heard of these conditions. They aim to bring greater awareness to symptoms and treatments, as well as fundraising for research and campaigns.

Natasha Cockram said: “Even when people have heard of Crohn’s and colitis, very few know what the conditions actually involve and the impact of being diagnosed. Both conditions can be debilitating and we work to raise awareness of symptoms and to encourage more people to talk about these conditions.

“We want more people to talk about Crohn’s and colitis because the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding the conditions mean that thousands of people are suffering in silence.

“We want to break down the taboos, raise awareness and inform more people so that there is better understanding generally and in the workplace.

“These conditions are the sort that people are less likely to want to talk about, but when your gut doesn’t work properly, the effects can be devastating. They can affect every part of your body and last your whole life.”

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is inflammation anywhere in the gut from the mouth to the anus. Although Crohn’s is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, any part of the gut can be affected. All layers of the gut can be inflamed.

Crohn’s Colitis is a type of Crohn’s disease, where only the large bowel is inflamed. This is because colitis means inflammation of the large bowel. It doesn’t mean you have both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is inflammation and ulcers in the large bowel. This is anywhere from the colon to the anus. Only the inner lining is inflamed. If only the rectum is inflamed it’s called proctitis.

What is microscopic colitis

Microscopic Colitis is inflammation of the large bowel. Unlike Ulcerative Colitis, Microscopic Colitis doesn’t cause ulcers and there is no blood in the poo. Doctors must use a microscope to see the inflammation. 

Symptoms can include:

  • Cramping 
  • Tummy pain
  • Frequent and urgent diarrhoea, sometimes with blood and thick liquid (mucus)
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight and not wanting to eat.

Find out more: Understanding Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Microscopic Colitis 

Crohn’s & Colitis UK

The charity relies on fundraising. They work on a wide variety of projects including campaigns to break the silence and change stigmas around the conditions. 

One area that Crohn’s & Colitis UK has been pioneering is the Are You IN? campaign, which encourages workplaces to sign up to ensure they are more inclusive of invisible illnesses.

The charity also works with healthcare professionals and policy makers in a bid to improve diagnosis, treatment and management of the diseases. A team of staff and volunteers give people essential information when they need it – and bring them together to find strength and support in one another.

The charity’s research grants drive research to discover better ways of managing the diseases and, one day, a cure.

Natasha said: “The charity is here to give people affected by Crohn’s and colitis hope, comfort and confidence; also to make sure their voices are heard and help them live freer and fuller lives.”

The Crohn’s & Colitis UK website is also trusted source of information and clear advice. There are helpline, email and live chat options for anyone seeking information, as well as patient information downloads and packs for newly diagnosed patients.

Natasha adds: “All of our work, campaigning and awareness raising requires fundraising and we are grateful to all those who help and support us.

“It means a lot to us that ACT has decided to raise awareness and funds for us.”

You can support ACT and our fund-raising goal at JustGiving.