Young Leeds campaigner in awareness day event

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An 11-year-old fundraiser and campaigner has marked a global awareness day with an event in Leeds.

Evie Addelman, who has Crohn’s disease, organised a balloon release outside the Civic Hall on World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Day.

Councillors and staff from Leeds City Council and members of the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust paediatric gastroenterology team joined Evie, and her friends and family for the release of 100 biodegradable balloons.

The balloons were orange, to signify Child Friendly Leeds, and purple and silver, the colours of the national charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK which Evie has supported.

It’s the latest initiative by the youngster from Alwoodley, who has previously set up her own blog to explain about living with her condition.

IBD, which includes the conditions Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, affects more than 300,000 people in the UK.

She has recently raised £3,000 to buy special mannequins for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which show how the digestive system works.

Evie said: “I hope this will help children understand the intestines and how they should be working, and why they are not working. If you have to have a feeding tube, the mannequins show how the liquid feed works.”

The youngster has also worked with the council’s complex needs service, which supports children and young people in Leeds with special educational needs and disabilities, to raise awareness of IBD in Leeds schools.

She added: “I understand a lot of schools encourage children to achieve 100 per cent attendance and provide certificates or a prize for that.

“I will never be able to achieve 100 per cent attendance, although when I am at school I try really hard. I wanted schools to think more about how to recognise children like me.

“I worked with the complex needs service to write a guidance and support document for schools which I’m excited about. If I can help just one child with a complex health need attending school, I will be really proud.”