A FUNDRAISER inspired by family members’ illnesses has been made an ambassador to a charity.
Surbjit Jassi is one of the first Community Champions for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, which supports those affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
The 47-year-old has raised more than £13,000 for the foundation after two of her closest relatives were diagnosed with the chronic condition.
The mother-of-two from Baffins, Portsmouth, says that she is ‘absolutely honoured’ to have been recognised by the charity.
She said: ‘I did not think for a moment that what I was doing was having such a positive impact on so many people.
‘Seeing my loved ones in so much pain and not being able to do anything made me want to do something that would make a difference.
‘I promised them that if I could not take the pain away, if I could not make them well, then the least I could do was to raise funds and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, so that one day hopefully a cure will be found in their lifetimes.’
Surbjit, who works in customer services, has taken on several challenges to raise money for Crohn’s & Colitis UK, including an abseil of the Spinnaker Tower.
And she has collected thousands by climbing Ben Nevis and taking part in the charity’s London Walk It event.
Surbjit hopes that her new ambassadorial role will help her spread the word about the work that the charity does.
She said: ‘Working with the public gives me ample opportunity to continue to raise funds and awareness. Simply by talking about the condition and handing out leaflets can make all the difference.
‘I strongly believe that I have learnt an awful lot from social media sites, and I will continue to raise awareness via them.
‘It brings families and sufferers together and gives them comfort that they are not alone. Together we can erase the stigma involved and beat this terrible disease.’
Around 300,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with either Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, which can cause ulceration and inflammation in the colon and digestive system.
David Barker, chief executive at Crohn’s & Colitis UK, explains how the Community Champions programme reflects the people who are making a huge difference to the charity and the wider IBD community.
He said: ‘I’m thrilled that Surbjit is one of our first Community Champions and that, like the other champions, she will encourage and inspire others.
‘Our close community is our biggest strength and we would not be able to do the work we do without it.’