The experience James Hatton gained volunteering with ERIC’s Fundraising Team helped him find work as a fundraiser for a local hospice: a dream he’d had since finishing university. Find out more about the long-lasting impact of his time at ERIC.
When you have issues with your bowel or bladder, it’s easy to focus on activities you can’t do because of those problems. You might feel like you’re missing out on things that others take for granted. But what if the opposite happens? Anna’s story is one of achieving milestones she was told were beyond her reach.
Anna, 18, developed necrotising enterocolitis soon after birth. In everyday terms, this means that there was a loss of blood supply to part of her bowel, so she became acutely unwell. The affected portion of bowel was removed and Anna had an ileostomy formed to divert her poo into a stoma bag worn on her tummy.
Anna was determined to experience life without the poo bag, so she bravely opted to have the ileostomy reversed when she was 13 years old. 11 surgeries later, she now empties her bowels in the normal way.
Her gut is now much shorter so everything travels through a lot quicker. As a result she has to go to the toilet frequently…up to 20 times a day. And her tummy rumbles a lot which can make Anna feel self-conscious. But she won’t let it stop her from enjoying a full and active life! She runs, she cycles, she swims, she takes part in triathlons.
Anna joined ERIC’s children’s panel three years ago to help other kids facing similar issues. She wants them to know dreams can come true for young people with wetting or soiling problems.
Anna said: “My medical condition has made me who I am today. More determined and more active as well as more caring and resilient. I was told I could never swim. A few months ago I took part in a relay and with my team we crossed the channel. Dreams can come true for us too. Don’t let your bowel or bladder problems beat you!”
We asked Anna what she likes about ERIC, this is what she said: “I never talk about my condition to my friends. When I met other young people on the ERIC panel, it was the first time I had the opportunity to open up about my issues. Being able to share tips and stories with others who know what it’s like is interesting and empowering. It’s turning something which could be perceived as negative into a positive experience.”
Anna addressed 250 health professionals at the ERIC conference in October. Her inspiring and uplifting presentation left tears in the eyes of the audience.
If you have a story to share, please get in touch today by sending an email to email@example.com.
Please consider making a donation to ERIC to help other children and teenagers with bowel and bladder problems realise their dreams.
Emma Harckham ran the Great South Run for ERIC on 22 October 2016. Here she shares her daughter Izzy’s story of chronic constipation and of finding support via ERIC’s helpline.
In the course of many of our conversations on the ERIC helpline, callers often say the same thing “I just don’t know what to do …we keep being told different things by different people!”
After a particularly moving call with an exasperated mum last week who was being bombarded by very well meaning (but not quite accurate!) advice from her friends, mother-in-law and the staff at her little girl’s nursery, we decided to list the 11 most common unhelpful things you might be told when your child has a wee or poo problem…and how you can respond. Continue reading
Holidays and day trips with small kids can be exhausting even under the best of circumstances. Doing them with a 2.5 year old who’s just started potty training and a 5 year old who struggles with constipation is an even bigger challenge. Never has knowing where you’ll find the next public toilet or changing room been so important! Bethan Grant, who works in ERIC’s fundraising team, should know. She gives us the lowdown on how to plan a day out with the kids that isn’t spoiled by little accidents.
ERIC’s Helpline Advisor Alina knows a thing or two about the problems that can develop when children start learning to wee and poo on the potty. She has successfully toilet trained her two boys and has helped many parents train their children. Armed with so much knowledge meant she was well prepared for the eventualities that potty training her two year old Nella would throw at her. In the final chapter of the Potty Training Diaries Alina explains how she managed to get Nella to poo on the potty and offers some handy advice for mums and dads for surpassing this milestone in their child’s life.
ERIC’s helpline advisor Alina Lynden reports on what she learned at a one-day training session about continence problems in children on the autism spectrum run by the National Autistic Society.