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Rachel’s leap of faith to beat Crohn’s

Published: 31 May 2014 08:300 comments

BATTLING Borders girl Rachel Callaghan is swapping her hospital bed for a parachute.

Rachel was honoured with an Inspiring Individual award earlier this year.

The 19-year-old from Galashiels has been fighting against a chronic condition for six years.

Rachel was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when she was 13. It has infected her entire digestive system, causing severe inflammation and constant pain.

And has led to her regularly being rushed to intensive care units as she battles against pneumonia and other related illnesses.

She relies on five injections each day as well as 50 prescribed tablets and a tube for feeding.

But Rachel, who was honoured with an Inspiring Individual award earlier this year. isn’t one for taking her misfortune lying down.

She told her story to the Border Telegraph earlier last month in an effort to raise awareness of Crohn’s disease.

And now she’s going to jump from 10,000 feet in a bid to give something back to the charity which has supported her and her family through their darkest times.

Rachel will climb aboard an aeroplane at St Andrew’s later this summer and, for the first time in her life, skydive back to earth.

Rachel told us: “For myself and many others with inflammatory bowel disease it has controlled our lives for many years.

“It’s time for that to change - it’s time for us to control it.

“The money raised, penny by penny, will help find a cure - it’ll save someone’s life and it will give someone at least some quality of life back.

“While being able to help raise some money, it will also raise some much-needed awareness which to me is just priceless. So many people know little about Crohn’s disease and colitis, which makes our battles even harder.”

Because of Rachel’s condition, an exact date for the jump will be arranged closer to the time.

Having spent the vast majority of the past six years in the Edinburgh’s Sick Kids hospital it is rare for her to be on the 'outside’ world for more than a couple of months at a time.

Crohn’s Disease, named after doctor Burrill Crohn in 1932, is believed to affect around one in 650 people in Britain.

No specific reason for its cause, or a cure, has yet been established.

For most sufferers it leads to inflammation of the small and large intestine and can often require surgery to remove infected areas.

But for Rachel the Crohn’s is chronic - taking over much of her body and depleting her immune system in the process.

She has set herself a target of £1000 to boost the work done by the charity, Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Rachel added: “I’ve never done anything like this before - I’ll probably need pushed out of the plane.

“I’ve used my savings to pay for the skydive so every penny raised will go to Crohns and Colitis UK.

“If together we help even just one person lead a normal life, then I will be over the moon.”

To donate to Rache’s leap of faith visit www.justgiving.com/diggingdeepforcrohnsandcolitis or text CCUK67 and the amount you wish to donate to 70070.

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