As this is my first blog post of 2015, it seemed only right to have a quick look back at 2014 and reflect on what’s been happening in the wonderful world of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)… The one thing that sticks out was my feeling that 2014 was going to be the year that the medical profession would see great advances in the IBD sector. Whether this was finding new and more effective ways to manage IBD symptoms, identifying what actually causes IBD or – miracle though it may be – finding a cure for it, my brain told me that 2014 was the year that bowel-related magic was going to happen. As it turns out, my brain kind of lied to me…
I say “kind of lied to me” because whilst there didn’t appear to be a lot of medical research hitting the news, IBD advocacy had an absolutely outstanding year. For example, the #GetYourBellyOut campaign was pretty much all over the internet and covered by both national and international press. Deservedly so – I might add. The work that Victoria Marie, Lorna Haymes, Sahara Fleetwood-Beresford and Gem Willigham have done is a MAJOR step forward in bringing Inflammatory Bowel Disease to the front of public consciousness. Well done Ladies and well done to everyone who supported the campaign by spreading the word online and by raising funds via official “#GetYourBellyOut Merchandise.”
In addition to the landmark #GetYourBellyOut campaign, the grass-roots advocacy movement has also seen a massive shift in a positive direction. An ever-increasing number of people are finding their voice through technology and are sharing their stories and experiences online. Blogs, websites, podcasts, YouTube, social media/networking, support groups…. the list goes on. The global IBD community grew tremendously in 2014 and it is my sincere hope that it continues to do so in 2015.
Speaking of 2015 – where do I see things going? Well as mentioned, my brain kind of lied to me about what was going to happen in 2014. So for the year ahead I am going to trust my gut. Given that I have Crohn’s Disease and my gut is sometimes not the most trustworthy of things, this may be a very risky proposition indeed. However, sometimes you just have to flip the coin and trust to fate that things will work out for the best. Anyway, I only really have one wish for 2015 and it’s basically the same wish I have had every year since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It is my sincere hope that the global IBD community will continue to grow and evolve and that IBD awareness grows with it.” In realistic terms, the more awareness we can generate about all forms and aspects of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the more funds we can raise . By extension these funds can help provide a more effective support system for all those affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease and more research can be conducted into not only finding out what actually causes IBD, but how to cure it. Building on the monumental success the IBD community has achieved in 2014, I am more optimistic than ever that this year is going to be awesome for all of us
Editor’s Note: Stephen Dempster is a monthly contributor to our blog. You can find Stephen on Google+ and on his blog Behind the Times. Stephen also is the creator of the Flipboard Magazine: A Little Behind The Times