Family affair .. The Gollan family (from left) Miriam, Louie (3), Stewart, Maeve (7), and Archie (11) in front of some of the purple decorations set up to celebrate World IBD Day last week. PHOTO: SHELLEY INON

by Shelley Inon

Geraldine resident Stewart Gollan was chosen to complete an illustration for Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand (CCNZ) to mark an event at Parliament last week.

The event coincided with World IBD Day.

Mr Gollan felt the illustration came to him easier than other works he had completed, thanks to his “lived experience” of having two of his three children suffering from some form of inflammatory bowel disease.

“I know the struggle.”

Both of his sons, Archie and Louie, have suffered from IBD to different degrees.

His wife Miriam Gollan said the oldest, Archie, “has really really suffered for the last five years”.

Mr Gollan said some people struggled to differentiate between inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

He said inflammatory bowel disease was an immune response not a dietary response.

However, there were foods their sons could not eat, but that was more so their good days were not ruined by a sore stomach or nausea.

Mrs Gollan said that with IBD, “you can eat all the right things and still suffer”.

Mrs Gollan said New Zealand was a long way behind with medications, which was ironic as we had one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the world.

The masterpiece . The illustration Stewart Gollan drew to depict life through the years with inflammatory bowel disease. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

CCNZ chief executive Belinda Brown said the illustration was for a flyer, to inform those at the event about IBD and what their organisation does, “but most importantly to accompany our short film that was being premiered at Parliament that night”.

“One-hundred percent he nailed it. The fact there were people of all ages who have risen above the challenges [of] an inflamed bowel, absolutely, he hit the brief.”

They had spotted Mr Gollan’s talent when he submitted a work to them last year of a child sitting on a giant toilet roll with his friends playing around him.

World IBD Day is observed in more than 50 countries, and it commemorated the five million people worldwide who live with these diseases every day.

“Twenty thousand of these people are our neighbours, friends, and family.”

Ms Brown said IBD did not discriminate by age or sex.

“It impacts the lives of children, teens, young adults, and the elderly.

“And it brings to each stage of life its own unique set of challenges.”