There is little understanding in the community about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and symptoms are often invisible. For the Australians living with Crohn's and colitis it’s a constant and often unseen struggle living with serious gut diseases that impact their personal, social and work lives.
What is Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are lifelong gut disorders that are collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
These chronic conditions can cause ulceration and inflammation in the colon (ulcerative colitis) or any part of the digestive system (Crohn's disease). There is no cure for the diseases.
The conditions are becoming more prevalent, more severe and more complex and are being diagnosed in more and more young people.
Over 100,000 Australians live with these conditions and this number is growing.
During a disease flare, inflammation can become so severe that sufferers need to be hospitalised and/or require surgery.
The conditions are largely unpredictable with significant variation in the degree and pattern of symptoms affecting each person. The relapsing and chronic nature of the disorder has broader impacts on a person’s emotional, physical and social wellbeing. People with Crohn's or colitis may also develop complications that are potentially life threatening.
To find out more visit www.crohnsandcolitis.org.au
What Crohn's & Colitis Australia does
Crohn's & Colitis Australia's primary purpose is to provide support services, advice and encouragement to people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Whilst CCA doesn't cure the illness it can remove some of the burden for people living with IBD and their families.
While we invest in research for a cure, CCA continues to advocate for world best treatments and health services for those living with IBD. Through our programs we offer education and support for Australia’s growing Crohn’s and colitis community and raise awareness of the disease. Importantly, our services are offered free of charge.
We rely on the generosity of volunteers, donors and community fundraising to continue our work.
Over the past four years the Live Fearless Challenge has been a huge success, with over 23,000 people involved and travelling more than 300,000 kilometres. In the process, they have raised over $1,130,000 to help fund new and ongoing research, education, advocacy and support initiatives.
We build research capacity by providing research scholarships and supporting clinical projects in the field of Crohn’s and colitis. This year we published our Research Priorities report which showcased the top 10 research priorities of Australians with IBD.
We deliver free programs and services to enhance community knowledge and understanding of Crohn’s and colitis, including hosting valuable forums in hospitals across the country as well as online livestreams.
We also help increase knowledge of IBD in the healthcare industry through intiatives like GutSmart, an education platform for dietians, psychologists and general practioners.
We advocate for improved quality of IBD care with more effective and affordable treatments, multidisciplinary team support and other changes to the health system which will improve health services for people living with Crohn's and colitis.
The IBD National Action Plan launched by the Minister for Health in March 2019 highlights key priority areas for further action.
We develop more services and programs to support young people, including a national program of Youth Camps, a Kids Fun Day, and a youth empowerment program (YEP!).
These programs connect children and young adults living with Crohn’s or colitis to others who share their experience and help them tackle key challenges through adolescence.