During this past CFL season I participated in an experience called In Their Shoes
. It was a 30-hour simulation, through an app, of what life is like with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). I was assigned a profile and given prompts throughout the day including doctor appointments/results, bathroom visits, meal choices and consequences of said meal choices.
Needless to say, this was an eye-opening experience. While my initial reaction was “this is obnoxious,” I quickly realized this was the exact purpose. The challenges of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
are significant and many, and they are unpredictable. For instance, Crohn’s disease is not covered among some airline travel cancellation insurance plans. In the simulation, while booking travel I was subject to an additional third party insurance charge of $350. Later on in the simulation I had to message some friends as I had to cancel plans due to a sudden flare. Then, the app asked me how this made me feel. Helpless and disappointed. Not only is your social life subject to these complications and unexpected challenges, but your professional and family lives are too. IBD knows no boundaries.
As an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada I felt it was important that I participate in this exercise. They say in order to understand somebody else’s life you must walk a mile in their shoes. As horrible as this may sound, I’m eternally grateful these shoes are not on my feet. That said, this experience lent me a perspective to utilize my platform to better speak on behalf of those who do suffer from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I now have a greater understanding of what IBD patients endure, and as such, I will champion this cause with a renewed and heightened purpose.
Calgary Stampeders Punter
Crohn's and Colitis Canada Spokesperson