A Ramsgate 20-year-old who was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s when he was just 14 is organising a charity football match to create more understanding of the condition.
Samuel Woodward, with dad Glenn, has organised the IBDVisible Charity Cup, which will take place at Hartsdown Park on August 27.
The event will include a number of people living with Crohn’s and Colitis and special guests such as former Everton striker Marcus Bent, YouTube legends Where’s My Challenge and Sturry-based celebrity DJ Discoboy amongst others.
All proceeds will be donated to Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are two forms of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and are lifelong diseases of the gut. They are painful, debilitating and widely misunderstood. Medication may help but may cause side effects, and surgery may be needed, often more than once. There is no known cure.
Some 500,000 people in the UK are living with the disease and the number could be higher as people feel too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it, instead struggling with the devastating effects alone.
Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.
Colitis is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed. It is not clear what causes the condition although one reason is the immune system attacking the digestive system.
Travel consultant Samuel has been suffering with a colitis flare up for the last 19 months but is now slowly recovering.
He said: “As I’m coming into recovery I wanted to create an opportunity for a community event to bring awareness of the condition because there is still a stigma attached to Crohn’s disease.
“There will be people in the match who have the condition because I wanted to create the opportunity for them to play alongside a number of known names as a way to mark their recovery.”
Samuel says the plan for the charity match came while illness was restricting his life. And he hopes it will lead to something bigger.
The former Royal Harbour Academy student said: “I have been ill for around 18 months, it has been going on so long. I spent so much at home that I wanted to mark my recovery and so planned it with my dad.
“We are hoping that this is the first step and after the match we will be looking to build on that and register as a charity. We want to hold events around Kent. I’m very sports-based but I want to create events for everyone, something that gives people confidence in themselves and something that people want to give to”
The “IBDVisible Charity Cup” will also include stalls from local businesses and a raffle with prizes donated by Grosvenor Casino.
It takes place on August 27, gates open at 5.30pm for a 6pm kick off. Entry is by donation.
If you would like to take part in the game email email@example.com or get in touch by contacting 07920329226.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK supports and advocates for people affected by the conditions. The charity is working to improve diagnosis and treatment, and to fund research into a cure; to raise awareness and to give people hope, comfort and confidence to live freer, fuller lives.