Last Saturday in collaboration with the Paediatric Gastroenterology team at Nottingham Childrens Hospital, CICRA organised another of its increasingly successful and well attended regional Crohn’s and Colitis family days in the Conference Centre of Nottingham Racecourse.
After a warm welcome, on a beautiful sunny day in pleasant surroundings, the morning session chaired by Dr Charlie Charlton from Nottingham Children’s Hospital and Dr Nick Croft , CICRA’s Hon Medical Advisor from Barts & the Royal London Hospital, got off to a flying start with Dr Charlton and Dr Devadason (also from Nottingham) speaking to the audience of 150 members families and friends about “What Endoscopy tells us”.
Also during the morning Professor Ian Sanderson from Barts & The Royal London Hospital gave an update on one of his current research projects – a UK multicentre study on growth, which is being funded by CICRA. This was followed by Radiologist Dr John Somers from the Nottingham team who gave a slide presentation about the work of the radiologist in exploring the gut of people with IBD and looking at the gut mucosa in those not yet diagnosed.
Slotted between the medical presentation were two very inspiring presentations from CICRA members Emily Fairbrother from Nottingham and Huw Arthur from Derbyshire. Both told of the struggles they had during their education – the ups and downs, the medications, the many hospital admissions and coping after surgery. Both spoke of the determination to get on with their life as best they could which included doing well academically and for Emily to continue with her
dancing and Huw to participate in sport – something for our younger members to aim for and perhaps talk about at a future CICRA meeting. A wide range of questions from the audience were answered with great knowledge by the two ‘young adult’ members.
With time available before the buffet lunch break CICRA Trustee, Neil Gooding provided a short presentation with slides about CICRA and “How it all began and what we do”. This covered the many successful CICRA Family Days and the 36 years of the CICRA Research Programme.
To begin the afternoon Professor Ian Sanderson spoke about the differences between Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis and about the current issues resulting from the recent BBC News programme – Junk Food – a connection with IBD …or not!
During a buffet lunch where parents and children had time to ‘chat’ we were entertained by Dr Charlie Charlton and his band, playing some really lively music – a first for a CICRA meeting.
The afternoon started with a short Annual General Meeting in which Vice Chairman Rod Mitchell provided a presentation about the results shown in the Annual report and accounts for calendar year 2013 (copies available from the office and later on the website). CICRA’s Fundraising Administrator, Wendy Loosley, followed with a fascinating 10 minute overview of her work and importantly the opportunities available to those who wish to help us in raising funds for research.
The small group discussions, each of about 35 minutes, headed up by medical professionals were as popular as ever covering: Living and Coping with IBD; Research into IBD: Diet & Nutrition; Living with a Stoma and Clinical & Treatment. Members had time to take part in 3 sessions of their choice from the 6 sessions offered and were able to ask more in depth questions in the small groups.
While the parents were in the groups the popular children’s entertainer Ian Davis kept the under 12’s happy with his very varied programme – something to suit all ages including Punch & Judy which went down really well. To make sure that we offer something for all ages there was the usual group for the young people in the age range 12 – 16 led by Louise Cooke and Jordan Mordue. Many questions and varied discussions took place with the youngsters able to talk with those of their own age group about their feelings, experiences and emotions – something that they are not always able to do because their usual friends do not always understand.
For only the second time, CICRA held a group for the ‘Inbetweeners’ (those over 16). Neil Gooding together, with Specialist Nurse Mick Cullen from Southampton Hospital, hosted a larger than expected lively group. Whether it was preparing for College, University or entering the workplace there was plenty to discuss and time to share their experiences and thoughts with others of their age. Having had successful meetings for this age group at the last two meetings this will be
continued at future meetings.
Throughout the day there was time to visit a range of CICRA displays and purchase CICRA merchandise. Beautiful craft items made and donated by Lynne Cooke (Mum of Louise – from our youth liaison team) sold very well and all money raised was donated to CICRA. Jayne who had been heavily involved in organizing the meeting with Paul and Margaret was on hand to speak to members and manned the CICRA stalls with Wendy.
Following a further break for tea and cakes, and especially the cutting of the cake to celebrate Dr Charlie Charlton’s 20 years of caring for children with IBD, the only thing remaining was to take the last few questions, draw the raffle and also pick the winners of the CICRA Summer Draw. For those who stayed on for a while to talk to newly made friends and seek more news about future events we were pleased to outline the regions for future meeting, the next one being in Exeter in October. Please watch the website www.cicra.org , Facebook and Twitter for further details as they are confirmed.
Finally our thanks go to all the speakers, group discussion leaders, the Trustees, Jayne, Wendy and Eliza and everybody who worked together to ensure a successful outcome.