PHILLIP Island resident Cameron Long is an inspiration to anyone who’s going through a tough time.
Growing up, he wasn’t your typical 15-year-old teenager.
He began getting stomach pains and after months of being sick, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at 16.
Cameron acknowledges it’s a fairly unknown disease.
“It’s a hard one to describe. But it’s mainly bowel issues and stomach pain,” Cameron said.
Crohn’s Disease can cause a mix of other problems and because of them, he takes 55 tablets a day.
Since his diagnosis 16 years ago, he’s been admitted to hospital 42 times, seven of which were ambulance trips.
The inner parts of his bones are wearing away. He has holes in some of his bones, the worst of which are his ankles, so he is in constant pain.
The holes were a side effect from taking prescribed steroids.
He’s had 23 surgeries. He’s had his large bowel removed and some of his small bowel. He’s had pneumonia, pericarditis and a septic infection is his left hip.
Despite his body working against him and endless hospital visits, he’s had time to find the love of his life, Rosie, and they have two children, Eli and Madison.
Three weeks ago, Cameron’s best friend Jeremy Poulier started a GoFundMe page to relieve Cameron of some of the financial stress when he’s recovering from ankle surgery and can’t work.
“I told him, ‘There may be no donations, so don’t get your hopes up’, but there’s around $3500 there now,” Jeremy said.
“We’ve been blown away by how many people have donated and how many shares it’s got.”
The two have been best friends since primary school.
“I went to Bass Valley Primary School in Grade 2 and he was one of the first guys I was introduced to,” Jeremy said.
Cameron wasn’t initially keen on the fundraising idea, not comfortable asking people for a “hand-out”.
What is more important to Cameron is raising awareness about Crohn’s Disease.
“The awareness is more important than the money,” Cameron said.
He wants to let young people know, who have Crohn’s Disease, that they’re not alone.
“I want to be able to help because I’ve been through the rough side of it,” Cameron said.
Jeremy agreed it’s the awareness that’s just as important.
“The hard thing is, he goes through it all the time and sometimes he looks like crap and other days, because of the medication he’s taking, he looks OK,” Jeremy said.
“But he’s battling on the inside.
“I thought maybe this is a way that I can help.”
The money will go towards supporting Cameron’s family, while he recovers from ankle surgery.
There’s a long journey ahead for the young family. Cameron will go in for surgery for his right ankle, spend a few months recovering, and then go back in for his left ankle.
The surgeries will mean it’ll feel like he’s walking with a moon boot, as he will have limited movement in his ankles, but he will no longer have pain in his ankles.
He wants to help young people who have Crohn’s Disease and insists his phone is always on. His number is 0438 566 111.
To donate to his GoFundMe page, go to www.gofundme.com/3kwfi8o
Battling Crohn’s Disease