A 10-year-old girl from Sleaford is inspiring her school, as well as other schools and businesses, to wear purple to raise awareness of life-changing bowel diseases.
Keira Beeson was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease - a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - three years ago but has vowed to raise awareness about the condition.
In a letter she wrote: “I would like to get as many people as possible involved with World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Day so I have decided to write to many schools and businesses in Sleaford and ask them to support me and other sufferers of IBD by wearing purple on May 19.”
Proud mum, Shelley, 41, said Keira and her older sister were unusually both diagnosed with the disease at the same time but there had been no past history in the family.
“We hadn’t heard of it before and it appeared out of nowhere,” she said.
Shelley said it started with diarrhoea, blood loss, tummy pain, loss of appetite and painful joints.
Shelley said: “She has had a terrible time for the last three years, in and out of the specialist children’s hospital in Nottingham, rarely symptom-free. But she never lets it get her down. She has to have a blood test every couple of weeks and lots of medication and injections.”
Keira said in her letter: “I have good days and bad days but I always try my hardest to keep a smile on my face. I have recently found out that 261,000 people in the UK are affected by IBD.”
The William Alvey School pupil first asked her school to join in and wear purple, which is the official colour of the awareness day for conditions including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Then she decided to make it bigger.
She looked up all the addresses and wrote to businesses and schools to encourage people to wear purple and raise awareness and raise money in the process.
Landmarks in the UK are lighting up purple for the day including the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead.
Shelley said: “She always thinks of others more than herself and last year she did a sponsored walk for Alzheimer’s Research.”
William Alvey School head teacher Stephen Tapley said: “Keira is amazing. She never makes a fuss and just gets on with it under very difficult circumstances.
“Keira asked us if we wanted to get involved in World IBD Day and wear something purple. We will do everything we can to help raise awareness and raise as much money as we can.”
There have been hundreds of messages of support since Shelley posted Keira’s letter on Facebook and staff at Iceland’s Sleaford store have pledged to take part, while other sufferers have said they are proud of what she is doing.
l For more information visit www.worldibdday.org