Ambassador Q&A with Elizabeth Sideropoulos
Elizabeth Sideropoulos is a 20-year old university student who has been living with Crohn’s disease for eight years. At the age of 13, Elizabeth experienced a significant flare up of her Crohn’s disease which was discovered following an appendectomy. Elizabeth spent many of her adolescent years in and out of hospital with flares, however, Elizabeth has always been inspired to live an active healthy lifestyle.
Elizabeth is very passionate about helping people with IBD and is currently participating in a clinical trial in the hope that new medications may become available for IBD patients in the future. As part of her mission to spread awareness and advocate for people living with this often invisible disease, Elizabeth is involved in a research program for young adults with IBD.
What are you most looking forward to this Live Fearless Challenge?
I look forward to advocating for the IBD community through the 2021 Live Fearless Challenge. Participating in physical exercise is a major part of my IBD management, therefore I am excited to be part of a strong, resilient community that will achieve their personal fitness goals and motivate each other to get active, connect and raise awareness of IBD.
Why is raising awareness and advocating for IBD important to you?
Raising awareness of the IBD community is incredibly important to me. Having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in my early teens, I found myself unaware of IBD and what it meant moving forward. It was then I realised the importance of being a voice for the IBD community and educating others.
As a young person, what advice would you give to someone who wants to share their IBD with friends or co-workers?
For many years, I have chosen to only open up about my IBD diagnosis with family. As a young adult maintaining ‘a typical functioning life’ and trying to keep on top of an invisible illness, I’ve always felt a level of vulnerability to share my IBD with friends and co-workers. However, through my journey of self-acceptance with IBD I find myself building determination and confidence in my ability to achieve goals I set myself. My advice for people who are willing to share their IBD journey with others is to share with people you are comfortable with and create a support network that can assist you through your IBD journey.
What inspired you to take part in a clinical trial for IBD?
I was inspired to take part in a clinical trial for IBD because I feel it is a great opportunity to support the IBD community as my contribution may be a small step to bringing new treatments accessible for future IBD patients. Despite the challenges I have faced participating in a clinical trial, I am successfully responding to treatment, so I am very optimistic for the future of the IBD community to have access to new treatments.