A Wearside monument is set to be flooded in purple lights from tonight in support of an international health campaign.
Crohn’s disease sufferer Stephen Dryden, 28, is hoping to raise awareness of the Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which affects millions, after calling for Penshaw Monument to be lit up in purple today and tomorrow to mark World IBD Day.
Stephen, who has battled the condition also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) since he was 11, hopes it will inspire other sufferers to not let the condition stop them from achieving what they want to do.
The technology consultant, who is formerly of Penshaw but now lives at Kingston Park, Newcastle, said: “I am trying to raise awareness of the condition which affects 300,000 people in the UK. “I have been in touch with Sunderland Council and asked them to light up the monument on May 19 which is IBD Day.
“I have had quite a lot of surgery to cope with my condition - I had part of my small intestine removed when I was 14 - and I am on daily medication, but I am generally able to live a normal life.
“I consider myself lucky. It is a condition that is not spoken about much because it is to do with your bowels, but it is a lot more than that, as it affects a lot more than that.” Stephen, who works at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in North Shields, said he is still able to keep up active hobbies such as rock climbing and had now started a blog to inspire people with his condition
“I am setting up a personal blog to tell other sufferers that you can still do things.
“I don’t know what my condition will be like in the future, but at the moment I am trying to do what I can.”
Sunderland Council said the monument will be lit overnight on May 18-19 and 19-20 from dusk until dawn.
Councillor Michael Mordey, Portfolio Holder for City Services, Sunderland City Council said: “Penshaw Monument, along with many hundreds of buildings and landmarks around the world, is being lit in purple to mark this day.”
To follow Stephen’s blog, visit www.climbingwithcrohns.co.uk