Bowl to help Brittani in Crohn’s disease battle
POTTSVILLE’S Brittani Nicholl was on her way up the professional surfing circuit when she suffered a serious health setback which left her wearing a colostomy bag.
The 25-year-old was competing at a surf event in Sydney’s Manly at the time.
“I would eat something and 20 minutes later I’d run to the toilet,” Ms Nicholl said.
“I’d be practising free surf and have to run to the toilet.
“I knew my health was deteriorating last year, I was really sick. But I didn’t realise what was really happening until I got into hospital.”
The reality of the situation was Ms Nicholl’s Crohn’s disease symptoms were flaring-up, severely.
She was admitted to hospital for major surgery. Doctors made a small opening on her stomach, called an ileostomy, for a bag to empty her bowel which she must now wear indefinitely.
Since surgery she can’t go in the water and has only been able to work for three weeks.
But an investigation two weeks ago showed signs of “healing and improvement”.
Now an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, Ms Nicholl said it was important for people to understand the early warning signs of the disease.
Symptoms include abdominal cramps, watery diarrhoea, severe urgency to have a bowel movement, fevers, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Ms Nicholl said it was important residents discussed symptoms with their GP.
“There are people who have symptoms that don’t go to the doctor because they’re embarrassed,” she said.
“But realistically, you just have to think – everyone’s got one (a bowel). The sooner you get diagnosed the better you can get treated.”
After hearing of her plight, the Pottsville community has organised a fundraiser for Ms Nicholls at the The Pottsville Beach Sports Club.
Everyone is invited to Bowl for Brittani Day on Sunday, September 13 at 1pm. Tickets are $10 and include a game of bowls, sausage sizzle, lucky door prize, raffles and live music.
Ms Nicholl said she was grateful for the support of the community.