Bladder and Bowel Community
Press Release September 2016

A New Beginning

The Bladder and Bowel Foundation has been serving people with bladder and bowel issues since 1989. The Charity has consistently offered help and support to thousands of people across the UK but earlier this year the Bladder and Bowel Foundation went into receivership due to lack of funds. It was a devastating blow to the community as a vital information and support service was on the brink of disappearing.

When I found out about the impending collapse of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation I knew that I needed to find a way to keep it visible in the community. Bladder & Bowel conditions are becoming more prevalent, not only in adults, but also children. There are 6.5 million people affected by some form of bowel condition in the UK, and an estimated 14 million living with some form of bladder problem. But this community lacks a voice given the tabooed nature of our medical issues. It is the ultimate aim of this foundation to be the voice we need and create a dialogue about our conditions.

Back in 2014 I began my mission to increase awareness of those living with bowel disease. From my own personal experience of a life with an ileostomy bag, I always felt it was a subject matter that people didn’t want to talk about. This lack of conversation spurred me to share my experience of Ulcerative Colitis and tackling the process of life after an ostomy.

I decided that, despite my condition, I would pursue my lifelong ambition of becoming a fitness model. I wanted to show the nation that bowel disease did not have to be this debilitating condition that many believe it to be. It was my aim to inspire a change and create a dialogue that would raise awareness of the fact that bowel and bladder conditions don’t have to hold you back.

And it appeared people were willing to listen. My story was shared across numerous media platforms including, and not limited to, Men’s Fitness, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed – even The Today Show USA!

It was my goal to compete in a national fitness and bodybuilding competition and in the back-end of 2014 I paved the way for fellow ostomates by claiming victory in my category. I may have beaten my fellow competitors but, most importantly, my biggest achievement that day was breaking down the stigma of having an ostomy.

Unfortunately, the highs of 2014 were not to be emulated in 2015. My flourishing career was dealt a devastating blow when I was diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia. I had to have emergency brain surgery but the recovery did not go according to plan. I developed meningitis and Hydrocephalus – a buildup of fluid on the brain. A reaction to the patch placed on my brain sealed my residency in the high dependency unit.

I spent the next 90 days fighting for my life.

With the unflinching and devoted support of my family, friends and the bladder and bowel community I pulled through.

I left the hospital with a hunger to reciprocate the love and support I had been shown, which brings us up to 2016.

When I found out about the financial troubles facing the Bladder and Bowel Foundation I saw an opportunity to repay the community that had been there for me. This community that plays host to over a million visitors each year, and that I had used so many times myself, could not be allowed to reach such an undignified demise.

Which is why, through seeking investment, I was able to raise enough funds to rescue the Foundation and its website from closure, and ultimately, revive it in an incarnation even more visible, and it’s voice even more prevalent,r than before. The new, impartial, independent and servient Bladder and Bowel Foundation has one focus – you.

Our team is completely dedicated to working for our community. We want to become the number one place for support, whilst also raising much needed awareness, not just about the medical issues associated with Bladder and Bowel conditions, but how it impacts our lives. We also aim to educate the wider community so our conditions can be better understood, and the stigma broken.

Our mission is to continue to support and empower the community in the following ways:

  • By giving you the tools and information you need to live a healthy lifestyle- such as nutritional advice, fitness tips and delicious recipes!
  • Maintaining a library of information about each condition that affects our community.
  • Keeping you up to date with the goings on and upcoming events in our community.
  • Making sure you’re kept posted with new and exciting developments at Bladder & Bowel!

As much as we would love to be able to do this from day one, we are still a growing community. This means we need your help – we want you to be truly engaged with the cause.

Start by following us on our social media channels, and by providing your valuable feedback and input. Become a part of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation community today.

Click here to get involved

If you have any further questions, then please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].

Bladder and Bowel Foundation

blake-signiture

Blake Beckford
Bladder and Bowel Foundation Co-Founder.