United and committed in improving the quality of care in IBD

Our Patrons

Prof Colm O'Moráin, ISCC Medical Patron

Professor O'Moráin is a Consultant Gastroenterologist. He has served as president of The Irish Society of Gastroenterology and United European Gastroenterology, and is the Ireland representative at the European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. Although retired from public practice, Professor O'Moráin continues to practice at the Charlemont Clinic in Dublin.

It is an honour and distinct privilege to write a foreword for the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease (ISCC) new website.

I have had a long association with ISCC. It awarded me my first research grant when I returned to Ireland to investigate the immune function in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), I have marvelled in its growth and its importance.

There is no doubt that the more informed patient is able to cope with the disease.  IBD is increasing in incidences with an estimated 20,000 sufferers in Ireland. The disease affects all ages and its course can vary from very mild to severe.  The real challenge is to find the cause of this sometimes devastating disease.  The disease is more common in developed countries and in the West which would point on an environmental cause.  This maybe diet which can have an effect on the internal environment of the gut influencing the myriad of micro-organism that reside there. 

There is need for better education for both patients and medical personnel dealing with this condition.  The management of IBD should be multi-disciplinary and the patient’s play a key role in the partnership.  Other participants should be not only Gastroenterologists but Surgeons, Radiologists, Pathologists, Nurse Specialists, Dieticians and Psychologists.

It is important to highlight the importance of this disease to the lay-public, hospital management and Politicians.  The disease is largely unknown and can place financial burden on patients who often need long-term medication and need help to cope with this demand.    

There are many unmet needs. One of the most important is the delay in diagnosis. Patients are often only diagnosed by presenting to an Accident and Emergency Department. 

There has been a rapid expansion in new treatments. Doctors need to keep abreast of all of the advantages and disadvantages of these therapies.  

Patient’s themselves are powerful advocates in demanding proper resources to manage IBD.  ISCC are at the forefront to ensure that patient’s with IBD have a voice and are listened to.

Senator Gerald Nash, ISCC Patron

Gerald Nash is a Labour Senator and was previously TD for Louth & East Meath. He served as Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. He is currently the Labour Party spokesperson on equality, labour affairs and workers' rights. 

I am delighted to assist in the work of the ISCC. I hope you find their advice, support and assistance as helpful as I do. 

As a member of the Dáil, and as a legislator, I am always happy to help to raise awareness of what it means to live with IBD, and to work out ways in which public policy can be changed to do just that. I have spoken at a number of public events with the ISCC – including the recent ECCO conference in Denmark.

I have found common cause with so many people across the country – and in my own home area in particular – through attending the truly invaluable public meetings organised by the Society.

At these meetings, you can get a real sense that you are far from being alone in terms of dealing with your condition and coming to a better understanding of it. 

I was diagnosed with Crohn's aged 14, back in 1990.

In the early '90s, nobody I knew seemed to know much about Crohn's. My family and I received great support and advice from the ISCC at the time and, being the kind of guy I am, I used the information I got to educate those around me about what Crohn's is – and from a teenagers’s perspective - what it isn't!

Sure, for a young and very active teenager, Crohn's did bring some limitations, but thankfully I learned to navigate through them. I also learned quickly how to combat degrees of misinformed ignorance about the condition. Sometimes this ignorance translated to  a form of bullying – a tough thing to encounter when you're going through a rough patch with illness and are trying to reintroduce yourself to ‘normal life’ having missed a lot of school, socialising and sport.

I cannot emphasise enough the value of speaking openly and frankly about the challenges you can face – sometimes on a daily basis. Meeting others to share that journey with is a major advantage. Discuss your issues openly with peers, with family, friends, colleagues and partners and don't be afraid to do so. Knowing that you are not on your own is crucial – there are literally thousands pf people in Ireland having the same experiences as you are this very day.

I tried not to let Crohn's be a burden to me in achieving my ambitions. Each and every one of us is in a position to live full and fruitful lives. I do believe though that much more needs to be done by the State to recognise the challenges of living with IBD. Through active involvement with the ISCC, you can help bring about the change we all need to see in our health system (and beyond)!