I semi-recently had the pleasure of interviewing IBD advocate, Jordan Wilson. I met Jordan during my first Patient Advisory Board meeting in Florida. You may recognize Jordan from his work with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation or various other online publications. Jordan is a good friend and amazing advocate. It was tru;y
I started experiencing minor symptoms a few months before my diagnosis. After finally going to my primary care physician I was put through a couple different rounds of antibiotics. When those didn’t work, I was sent to a GI. At this point my symptoms had gotten worse and I immediately scheduled a colonoscopy. I was 26 years old and it was right after this procedure that I received my diagnosis.
I am a Realtor working with RE/MAX Prestige in Southern California.
I feel it’s important to give back to your community if you are able to because there are so many people out there who can benefit from our stories and our support. While I did have a strong support system when I was going through my battle with UC, I didn’t know any other patients that had gone through it before. Now, I try to help as many as I can because I don’t want them to feel alone. I try to be a voice of positivity because there can be a tremendous amount of negativity and horror stories, especially in the online IBD community.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been presented with several opportunities to give back to the IBD community. They include…– Participating in my hospital’s “buddy system” which allows any patient who is thinking about having j-pouch surgery or has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis to have access to my contact information– Contributed articles to various online publications– Traveled across the country participating in patient education advisory boards that work to help benefit the ulcerative colitis community– Traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in “Awareness Week” for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation where I walked on Capitol Hill and met with legislators to discuss the importance of healthcare for IBD patients– Spoke in front of 500 pharmaceutical company executives on what the IBD community needs and to share my story– Helped plan and raise funds for local and national events for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.– Met with software developers alongside the CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to help create programs that will benefit IBD patients– Leveraged social media in order to connect with more IBD patients
My inspiration to be an IBD advocate is simply, because I can. I feel a duty, a responsibility even to help. Since I didn’t have anyone to relate to, I want to be that guy going forward. I’m very honored that I can use my previous experiences to help others who may be struggling. Isn’t this something we should all do if we’re able to? Also, this may sound like a bit selfish, but I feel good when I help people. It’s the psychology of gift giving. It feels good to do good.
Go to the national organizations and see what they have to offer. If there’s nothing local available like support groups, charity events, etc., usually the larger organizations have ways for you to get involved and help spread awareness.