With the fundraising support of Solicitor, Attracta O'Regan, and her husband Ultan, Beaumont Hosptial Foundation is launching the 'Let's Get to the Bottom of it' appeal - to fund the salary of a research fellow into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at Beaumont Hospital.
This dedicated physician will provide exclusive on-going patient care supports - a service which is not currently available in Ireland - and will radically change the isolation and untreated side effects for people with inflammatory bowel disease. The couple's fundraising 'kicks up-a-gear’ in September when Attracta and Ultan will cycle from Paris to Nice - some 700 km over six days - to raise funds for the new position. It is planned that the new appointment will commence in July 2020.
It is hoped,that with public support, we will continue to fund this post for 3 years (and beyond if possible) to develop qualitative research aimed at improving quality of life for people with the incurable Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease. We are calling on all patients of the IBD service to get involved and to support the funding of this role either by making a donation, organising an event or taking part in one of the Foundation's organised events.
In January 2016, Attracta was enjoying family life with her husband and four children and leading a successful and challenging career as a busy solicitor.
A month later, she was admitted to hospital with constant diarrhoea and bleeding, severe abdominal pain, weight loss, exhaustion, heart palpitations and vomiting. She believed her ill health was caused by an infection caught during an overseas work trip but after two weeks of invasive tests, she was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, called Ulcerative Colitis, which occurs when the lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum, or both, becomes inflamed producing tiny sores or ulcers on the lining of the colon.
Describing herself at that time she says, “I was in a mess. I was in pain, running to the toilet every few minutes. The steroids I was on caused insomnia and the loss of vital body minerals was affecting my heart and other organs. Every joint in my body was in pain and swollen from fingers to toes. My jaw kept locking when I tried to eat or speak and I found it difficult to walk. As a result, I was confused and irrational. My speech was slurred which was embarrassing and upsetting and I was truly terrified as my livelihood depends on my mental acuity”.
“It took two years of going down many treatment routes including steroids, immunosuppressive and biologic medications, dealing with adverse complications including steroid dependency disease, abnormal cervical cells, IBD related arthropathy to get my ulcerative colitis under control and I am now in remission. This is due to the expertise, care and patience of Dr Aoibhlinn O’Toole and Clinical Nurse Specialist, Mary Forry, who guided, supported and brought me successfully through this very complicated personal journey. I am now living a healthy, normal and rewarding life once again.”
We wish Attracta and Ultan success in the Paris to Nice cycle and if you would like to contribute to their fundraising you can do so on this page (see above) or call us on 01 - 809 2927 for more information.