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Gut feelings: helping the fight against IBD

In support of those suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Scotland, Glasgow Live recently ran a few features on its website to raise awareness of this life-changing condition. 

The website featured a few articles on those suffering from Crohn’s or Colitis, in addition to an article on Vicki from Glasgow, a Paediatric & Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specialist Nurse. Glasgow Live also ran an interview with Kostas, a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Nutrition who is based between Glasgow University’s School of Medicine and the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Kostas talks about the challenges he and his colleagues face as they try to understand how a diet interacts with gut bacteria in people with Crohn’s Disease and how it affects gut bacteria, which may play an important role in the onset of Crohn’s disease.

Kostas: “The Catherine McEwan Foundation has been very important to our research, in enabling us to understand how the diet reacts with the gut bacteria in patients with Crohn’s disease. Through their fundraising they have been able to give us money to purchase equipment, that allows us to study how the diet interacts with the gut bacteria and how the fibre we’ve consumed is broken down into bacterial molecules which is very important for gut health. The Catherine McEwan Foundation has also provided a significant amount of funding to employ a research fellow to study how the new diet can improve the outcomes for patients with active Crohn’s disease.”

The work of Kostas and other scientists and researchers is invaluable in the fight against IBD and as always, we encourage you to read the full story here.

Thank you once more to Glasgow Live in their amazing support of the Catherine McEwan Foundation as we try to enrich the lives of young people and adults who are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland.

Leading the fight against IBD…

At the end of last year, Glasgow Live was supporting the Catherine McEwan Foundation in raising awareness for those in Scotland affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). It wasn’t just those suffering from Crohn’s or Colitis that they featured though.

Sometimes overlooked in medical articles that run on lifestyle websites are the consultants, doctors and nurses who are in the front line, doing everything within their powers to help the patients in their charge.

Someone who has been a great source of strength and a key figure at Glasgow Children’s Hospital in the treatment for those suffering from IBD in Scotland is Paediatric & Inflammatory Bowel Disease Specialist Nurse, Vicki from Glasgow.

Vicki has been a specialist IBD nurse for over 14 years now and understands more than most the affect that it can have on those who suffer from it.

Vicki: “One of the most challenging things about this job is that you see young people with a chronic and often life changing condition, trying to kind of get on with their lives and do the things that a young person should be doing. But, also, one of the great things about that is that, you see them doing it and they are stronger than they ever believed they were, and we’re lucky to be able to support that, and that’s the truth.”

It’s another great feature on Glasgow Live and we urge you to read the full article, which you can access here.

Vicki has been a huge support to the Catherine McEwan Foundation as we try to improve the lives of those living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland.

Living With IBD… Ulcerative Colitis

The 1-7 December 2019 was Crohn’s & Colitis awareness week which helped to increase awareness of those affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), not only in Scotland but across the UK and the rest of the world.

In support of the Catherine McEwan Foundation (CMF), as we continue to try and enhance the lives of those in Scotland who suffer from Crohn’s or Colitis, the Glasgow Live website featured a number of articles that focused on those living with IBD and those at the front end in supplying the care, medication and support for its sufferers.

One of those sufferers is 16-year old Jenni from East Kilbride, who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at the age of 4. With the support of her family, particularly her mum, Kirsteen, Jenni has been inspirational in the way she has challenged her condition head on, determined to raise money and offer support to all those who suffer from IBD. 

Jenni started raising money for the Catherine McEwan Foundation and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity at the age of five, raising £5000 at a primary school cheese and wine party. Since that day, Jenni, who is a Young Ambassador for CMF has gone on to raise over £400,000 for both charities!

Jenni: “I think the advice that I would give to someone who has been diagnosed with IBD, is to know that you’re not alone because there’s so many people of your age group that are going through the same, and are having the same worries as you. Don’t isolate yourself, reach out to them. I’ve met a lot of amazing people through having this illness which I’m so glad about. Reach out and don’t keep everything into yourself.”

Thank you once again to Glasgow Live, and please take the time to read Jenni’s inspirational full story here.

Living With IBD… Crohn’s

As part of December 2019’s Crohn’s & Colitis week, popular online portal, Glasgow Live, ran a few features on their site to raise awareness of those in Scotland affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Following on from our recent share of their story on 14-year old Amelia from East Kilbride, we now look at 19-year old Reiss from Cumbernauld, who has been living with Crohn’s disease for 10 years now, after being diagnosed at the age of 9.

Reiss talks openly about his struggle to manage school and how he has spent much of his life in and out of hospital, going through numerous operations.

Reiss: “During high school I was focussing on trying not to fall behind. Mentally, when it came to thinking about the condition, there were times that I did think to myself, why am I the one that has to go through all of this? Everyone else is fine, they don’t have anything wrong. People looked at me at that point, and just thought, oh, he’s a bit tired. But for me it was kind of like being in a shell, there isn’t really anybody there. The teachers would say, if you need anything you can come to us, but there’s not a whole lot they can help with, in that sense.”

This is just a snippet of the full interview with Reiss, and again, we encourage you to read the full article on Glasgow Live here.

Again, many thanks to the team at Glasgow Live for this great feature and helping the Catherine McEwan Foundation, as we continue to try and improve the lives of those who are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland.

A Red Hot Ball Thank You

Dear Catherine McEwan Foundation Family,

We hope you are all fit and healthy and remain so during these very difficult times.

As a charity, it’s important to us that you know that the Catherine McEwan Foundation is committed to all of our patients, families and health professionals and we aim to support you as much as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We will continue to provide information, support and funding where possible to help you navigate these uncharted waters.

As you would expect, our events for the foreseeable future need to be rescheduled, but we would like to thank the many of you who had already signed up for Kiltwalk, It’s a Knockout and bought tickets for our Comedy Crohnies. All of these events will be back as soon as possible, hopefully bigger and better. We also hope to have you join us later in the year for our annual Tea Jenny, Santa Bungee and Drive In Movies, which are all hugely popular events. Fingers crossed!

Our most recent fundraiser and flagship event, the annual Red Hot Ball, had a record-breaking year, raising almost £80,000 – our highest ever total! It’s hard to describe the pride and gratitude we have regarding the amount of money that was pledged by you.

But the reality is that since the Ball on 7 March, many people’s financial situations have drastically changed. Some Catherine McEwan Foundation supporters have had to close businesses, others have lost their jobs and, for many of us, it’s a time of uncertainty that we’re now faced with. We understand though that putting food on the table and staying safe has to come first.

As a charity, we want to express our sincere thanks to those of you whom have honoured your donations and to those who still plan to in the future. For any individuals or organisations who cannot fulfil their commitments at the moment, we have no intention of adding any further, unnecessary pressure to your current financial situation. We wish you well and hope you can support us in the future.The Catherine McEwan Foundation will continue its important work throughout the lockdown and we would value any support our ‘family’ can offer to allow us to provide much-needed service and support to those suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland and our beloved NHS.

Over the coming days you will see new initiatives that we hope you can get involved in.

Most importantly though, we want you to stay at home, stay safe and stay healthy.

Kind regards,

Derek and all the team at the Catherine McEwan Foundation

Coronavirus and IBD – LIVE Facebook Q&A

Since the start of this year, week by week Coronavirus has had more and more impact on all of our lives. As this has happened, more and more questions about where it came from, how we treat it and what can we do to prevent it have emerged. The Catherine McEwan Foundation has had a massive number of questions from lots of supporters on this topic, more than ever before.

The impact of Coronavirus has been especially difficult for patients with chronic disease including IBD. Questions about taking treatments, attending hospital and who needs special measures are all really important questions. With so much information in the news and on social media it can be hard to get your questions answered and know that the answers you get are correct.

To help, the Foundation have brought together two IBD doctors to take part in a question and answer session to answer questions about Coronavirus and IBD. Professor Richard Russell (Sick Childrens Hospital Edinburgh) will host a Q&A for parents and children with IBD while Dr Daniel Gaya (Glasgow Royal Infirmary) will do the same for adults with IBD.

While we may not be able to provide all of the answers, the Foundation will work with you to do it’s best to answer the questions that you have and will be able to share new information as it comes out to help you understand this very important problem in more detail.

Adult IBD Q&A with Doctor Daniel Gaya
Wednesday 1st April 7pm

Paediatric IBD Q&A with Professor Richard Russell
Thursday 2nd April 7pm

Living with IBD…

At the end of last year, the Crohn’s & Colitis awareness week ran from 1-7 December 2019  with the aim of raising awareness of those affected by these life-changing diseases.

In support of this, our friends over at Glasgow Live ran a few fantastic features on their website with the aim of drawing attention to those in Scotland suffering from these two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

One of these features was on 14-year old Amelia and her mum, Lucy, who live in East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow. A few years ago, Amelia was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which came as a complete shock to the whole family as her mum already had Crohn’s disease.

In this revealing interview with Glasgow Live, Amelia and Lucy talk openly about the destructive impact IBD has had on their lives and how they have coped over the years.

Amelia: “… I struggled with the mental health side of things. Like having PTSD from having the tube and the steroids I was taking a few years ago, caused me to have periods of depression. When I was 10 years old, I was sitting on my kitchen floor wanting to commit suicide, which to me still, is utterly crazy, because I was 10 and I felt like there was no point. It’s horrible. But I went to counselling for three years which really helped, and I was discharged, unfortunately there are long waiting lists for anyone who wants to access counselling services.”

It’s a powerful feature, and we encourage you to read the full article. 

At the Catherine McEwan Foundation, we will continue to try and improve the lives of children, young people and adults who are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Scotland. We thank the team over at Glasgow Live for their amazing support.

Comedy Crohnies Raises £2500

Our hugely popular Comedy Crohnies event landed at The Loft at Brew 74 in East Kilbride on Saturday, 23 November.

Featuring a top comedy line-up of Scott Agnew, Gary Little, Connor Burns and Iain Hume, this was our debut East Kilbride performance and we were absolutely delighted when we found out that the event had sold out in advance!

We run these events to increase awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Scotland and in a night full of belly laughter, half-time rolls and a charity raffle, we’re delighted to reveal that we raised £2500 for the Catherine McEwan Foundation!

This was our last Comedy Crohnies of 2019, but do please keep checking our website or follow our Facebook page as we will be announcing more events shortly for Glasgow and East Kilbride in 2020.

Tea Jenny 10!

We’re delighted to announce that the Tea Jenny Ladies Lunch will return to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Cambridge Street in Glasgow on Sunday, 13 September 2020. In what will be its 10th event, it follows the huge success of the recent September Tea Jenny, where 300 women partied the afternoon away and raised an incredible £20,000 for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Jenny Cook is a Young Ambassador for the Catherine McEwan Foundation and each year holds the Tea Jenny event to increase awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Scotland and raise money for the Foundation and Glasgow’s Children’s Hospital Charity. Both these charities are very close to Jenny, who has been suffering with Ulcerative Colitis since 2007.

So far, Jenny has raised over £400,000 for both charities!

These vital funds will offer a major benefit to the Catherine McEwan Foundation funded CD-Treat diet project. The aim of the diet is to provide fridges for the CD Treat food for all patients, a delivery service for the food, and to collect samples for testing. 

This will have huge value to the ongoing success of the project as it continues to grow throughout Scotland.

Big congratulations to Jenny on yet another fantastic event and a special thank you to all the loyal ladies who come every year and support the cause.

With demand for tickets already extremely high, you can make sure you don’t miss Tea Jenny 10 by booking your place here.

Early-bird tickets are only £30, which includes a sparkling reception, three course lunch, a glass of wine and all the usual fantastic entertainment.

Rachel Harris

After 16 fantastic months, our Catherine McEwan Fellow, Rachel Harris, has now moved onto a new position. Rachel joined the team at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow and has been involved in some fantastic research and studies into Crohn’s and Colitis in Scotland. We asked Rachel to give us an insight into her time as a Fellow and the work she has been doing on IBD within that time…

Hello everyone! Sadly, my time with the IBD team at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow has come to an end. However, as a team, we have achieved so much during my 16 months as Catherine McEwan Fellow and I would love to tell you all a little bit about that. 

As a new role within the department, my time was split between working with the Clinical Research Facility on lots of different IBD-based research projects; and the clinical areas of RHC as a doctor looking after the gastroenterology inpatients on the ward, and outpatients within the IBD clinic. This is where some of you may have met me! 

My role has proven to be a fantastic addition to both the clinical and research teams! As well as looking after our lovely patients, we have managed to produce a number of very exciting research projects which we hope will make a positive impact on our present and future patient. 

During my time with the IBD team I have worked very closely with Lisa – our fabulous IBD research nurse – and the research and clinical teams, to enrol our patients into a number of international studies. These include the Inception Cohort and Safety Registry, a very important study collecting information on new IBD patients from diagnosis, aiming to assess the safety and effectiveness of the treatments we currently use.

And also the Reduce Risk study, a trial looking at the most effective way to treat patients with newly diagnosed Crohn’s disease and keep them well. 

These studies aim to provide us information on which treatments work best for our patients on a global scale and the results will help inform the decisions we make for our patients in future practice around the world. 

We have highlighted a number of specific things which we have noticed in our patients by describing their cases in medical journals. These have included reports highlighting skin staining or low mineral (phosphate) levels as side effects of iron infusions in IBD patients. We have highlighted these cases to reduce the chances of the same problems happening to patients elsewhere.

Our study looking at steroid use and dependency within our IBD population has also been published. Steroids are good for making IBD better but can have side effects, especially if you are on them for a longer time. 

This study was to highlight patients who had been on steroids for longer than recommended. We looked for signs of steroid use in more than 200 patients. This highlighted we have low rates of steroid use and for the vast majority, plans were put in place to allow patients to come off steroids as quickly as possible, while still trying to keep their IBD under control.

We have also submitted data to national and international studies, looking at the high total numbers of children with IBD in Scotland, how patients with bad colitis that need hospital stays do (acute severe colitis), and the use of a new therapy (ustekinumab) being used in Crohn’s disease. 

Our work has been presented at local, national and international meetings; and all of these publications and presentations aim to increase awareness of complications and other issues relevant to IBD patients within the medical community and ultimately improve patient care. 

Our department also had the honour of hosting the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) annual meeting in Glasgow in June of this year. This was not only an excellent learning opportunity for our team, but also an opportunity to showcase our research and service to an international audience. The conference hosted nearly 5000 health professionals working within our field from all over the world, who were very impressed with what Glasgow had to offer! 

I have also been involved in the supervision of University of Glasgow medical students who were spending their five weeks’ special study modules with us. These students helped to conduct some of the above IBD projects. 

We have had really great feedback from our students and hope that this has sparked their interest into paediatric IBD and research for future years.

Although I am moving on, I am very pleased to say that we were able to point a new Clinical Research Fellow, Rebecca Jackson, who will take over all of the very exciting projects ongoing within the IBD team – our work certainly doesn’t stop here. 

The research undertaken within our team at RHC is invaluable in helping clinical teams everywhere understand IBD better and develop new, more effective, safer treatments for our patients in the future. 

I feel so very lucky to have worked with such a fantastic team of doctors, nurses, specialist nurses, dieticians, AHPs and ward staff – not to mention of course our incredible, brave and resilient patients!

 I’m incredibly grateful to the Catherine McEwan Foundation for the opportunity to work with such an amazing and ground-breaking team.  

Although I’m really enjoying my new post within a fab new team, I consider the IBD team at Glasgow my home and will certainly stay in touch. 

None of what we achieved within the past 16 months would have been possible without the Catherine McEwan Foundation – so thank you once again for all of your support!

Rachel Harris