I’m Shawn Bethea and I’m an African American living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

To kick off Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week 2018 I wanted to discuss a very important topic. – Being a minority with a chronic illness. There is a serious lack of resources and awareness for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and many other 3chronic conditions, especially for minorities.

In this video, I also discuss what it was like being a minority and trying to get a diagnosis after so many years. To be treated differently because of the color of your skin or where you are from is just wrong. People looked at my mother as if she was crazy for wanting better care for her daughter. As if she was wrong for knowing something was wrong with her baby girl. While unfortunate, I know I am not the only little brown girl with a story like this.

Let’s normalize IBD. Let’s normalize living in color.

In a recent post I shared to my Facebook page, a doctor himself stated that medical professionals believe black women less. Stating statics show the odds of dying in child birth are three to four times higher for women of color, but why? Why is it that black women are being treated so poorly? Why are we being punished? Physician bias is the unfortunate reality that many minorities will have to face in their lifetime. According to the Washington Post, a study showed that whites are more likely to receive strong pain medications for the same conditions as blacks.

As a black American patient living with a chronic condition, I can acknowledge how far we’ve come, but we still have a long way to go. This Awareness Week I ask you to share your story. Your story can be the one that makes all the difference. Whether you’re brown, white, purple or pink, you matter.

Follow along on social media to stay in touch and contribute to the Awareness Week fun!