It is a great honour to become an International Ambassador for Mitrofanoff Support Australia. I am extremely passionate about the work they do and I am privileged and proud to be associated with Mitrofanoff Support Australia as it helps people change their lives.
We, as a society have come a long way when it comes to many personal issues and problems, but bladder dysfunction is still taboo. The more publicity we can generate then more people will realise that not only are they not alone in suffering from bladder problems, but also that help and support is readily available and they no longer have to suffer in silence.
My experience inspired me to give something back and break down one of the last taboo subjects of the 21st Century. In 20009, I spoke to Mr Jeremy Ockrim, Consultant Urologist at UCLH about setting up a charity fund to help others suffering from bladder dysfunction and between us we set up the Parnell Fund, which is now a charitable fund with UCLH Charities www.parnellfund.com
Although I had never run before, I have been able to run a number of marathons and have completed some pretty daunting challenges including:
Running the Paris Marathon then continued running from Paris to London to run in the London Marathon the following weekend.
An extreme triathlon which involved seven days of running, riding and rowing all the way from Lands End to London.
I have also climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and Mount Olympus.
We need to overcome the barriers of embarrassment and awkwardness and encourage people to discuss bladder issues, not only with health professionals but also fiends and family.
When you think about it, why would people not help or support you - the chances are that they at some point in their life will also suffer some sort of bladder issue.
Bladder dysfunction is a largely preventable and treatable condition and once correctly diagnosed, you will not feel fear nor isolation in coping with what can be quite a debilitating condition, but relief that you are not on your own and quality of life can be restored. That's because, with the correct treatment, it does not have to hold you back, you can lead a normal life.
So please always:
Assume support - people will understand and offer support.
Don't be embarrassed about seeking help, something can be done.
Don't let bladder issues limit your life.
DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE.