CAMP PURPLE TOILET ACCESS INITIATIVE
Dear Patients, Families and Supporters,
From 13 to 17 January, 57 children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic autoimmune diseases of the digestive tract, attended Camp Purple Live at El Rancho Camp in Waikanae. The camp was organised by Crohns and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust, whose mission is to support those with Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.
There is no cure for these diseases which usually require potent chronic immunosuppressive medications and often multiple surgeries. NZ has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative Colitis in the world and they are diseases that often strike in childhood, causing symptoms that no one likes to talk about: abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding. Imagine being on a school trip and having to stop five times to have an urgent bowel motion. Imagine pleading to use the employee restroom in a shop and having to explain why. Imagine being told that you will need to search for a public rest room somewhere else. Imagine being 12 years old and having an accident in the middle of the city.
On the second day of camp the children visited Parliament in downtown Wellington. Many had to stop along the way to use the restroom.
On their tour they asked the tour guide how to go about getting the House of Representatives to enact a law similar to one known as “Ally’s Law” in the United States. Ally’s Law is named after Ally Bain, a 14 year old girl with Crohn’s disease. Ally was denied access to the employee toilet by a store manager in Chicago, resulting in an embarrassing public accident. Ally fought for a law in the State of Illinois and was successful. Ally’s law guarantees access to employee toilets to people whose conditions require the urgent use of a toilet such as Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, and those with ostomy bags. There are now similar laws in 15 other States.
Coincidentally, the Parliament tour guide had Crohn’s disease himself. He explained to the children the legislative process. Immediately on her return to camp, with the help of one of the volunteers, Nicole Thornton, a 12 year old girl with Crohn’s disease wrote a petition. It requests that the House of Representatives enact a law similar to Ally’s Law in NZ. It was signed by all 57 campers, along with 30 of the camp volunteers, including three doctors and four nurses.
The Petition is being sponsored by the Hon Trevor Mallard, MP and will be presented to the him on the steps of Parliament House, Wellington at 11:00am on Tuesday January 31st .
We urge you to join our cause and help MAKE IT LAW for retail establishments that have toilet facilities for their employees to also allow people who suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease or other medical condition to use the facilities.
If you are able to join us, we invite you to stand with us on Tuesday morning, assembling at 10.45am on the steps of Parliament.
You can also help by signing and sharing this on-line petition Camp Purple Toilet Access Initiative
Show your support and visit the 'I can't wait NZ' Facebook Page.
Your support will help make our initiative a reality and together, we can build a better and brighter future by making life more liveable.