Posted by Devenia Besant on 04 Nov 2018

Hey Steve, can you tell us a bit about you?

I am 39 years young and have lived in Epsom for the last 5 years. I am married to my soulmate Kate and we have two beautiful young children. I love relaxing watching my football team at weekends (I won’t mention who 😂) and spending valuable time with my little family. At the age of 25, before my 3 rocks entered my life, I became very ill. I never had symptoms before but out of the blue I had Ulcerative Colitis which was later diagnosed as Crohn’s disease. It’s been a difficult few years but I have a never give in attitude and try to inspire/help others. Im here to spread awareness of this Invisible illness and hope to change the perception of once a taboo subject.

How has Crohns changed your life since being diagnosed?

Massively! All areas of my life have in one way or another been changed forever. You take for granted you’re own personal health in life. You always think it will never happen to you. Or will it?!…..well in 2005 it did happen to me. Suffering with severe abdominal pains, I found myself stuck on a London double decker bus making my way into work on the day of the 7/7/2005 London bombings. I worked in the police. I somehow got off the bus and into work whilst carrying out a full night shift and visiting the loo over 14 times. 3 weeks of more severe pain, blood loss, weight loss and tests in hospital I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. This is a auto immune disease whereby the body attacks itself and ulcers are found through the whole digestive system. Little did I know that it would then try to kill me a few weeks later. I was told to say my goodbyes to friends and family as it was predicted I had only 50% chance of survival through surgery. I survived, thank god, and live to tell the tale but my journey was only at the beginning. It led to me having a formed stoma and colostomy bag for 1 and a half years whilst removing my large colon and bowel. Luckily I had enough bowel to have a full reversal and get rid of the external pouch. In 2007 I became a proud owner of an internal pouch, called a j-pouch. This now tries, but fails on many occasions, to replace the workings of a large intestine. One problem, having constant loose stools, which in turns loses me all my mineral and salts, causes chronic fatigue and enfeebled levels are non existent. I suffer daily with constant cramping and bloating, sores, skin problems, inflammation (especially of the joints), blood loss, weight loss, sacroiliitis, blockages, and bad bone density. Additionally I suffered with abscesses, nausea, constant infections and plenty of medication which bring plenty of other harmful side effects, of that a higher risk of cancer. In 2014 I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after my consultant believed I was misdiagnosed in 2006. To top it off the disease has tried, but failed, to finish me off a further two times but the threat is constantly there.

It ruins my social life as drinking and eating can cause flare ups and experience has proven that toilets out and about are missing loo roll, no locks on the doors or it doesn’t even flush, let’s not even mention the state of the loo. I’m met with comments in the telling me how disgusting it smells, you name it I’ve heard it. It makes you want to hibernate forever!

My work life has been effected too. I lost my job as a policeman and a career I truly loved. I was medically retired as due to the cuts I was not deemed suitable to serve with an illness. Unfortunately society labels someone with an illness as damaged goods and a problem. This certainly needs to change, and fast!

Despite the doom and gloom faced everyday by me and many others like me, I refuse to back down and let this disease control me or my family. I want to flip the negativity on its ugly head and prove to myself and all others that anything is achievable should you so wish it. I’ve been dealt a bad hand in life but it does not mean I will fold. I want to prove that if you remove the ‘Dis’ from disability you are only left with ‘ABILITY’. I have the ability to change my world and thinking. It starts with me and now I want to help others in my situation who are stuck or feel trapped.

You are currently fundraising by doing different challenges can you tell us a bit more about that?

Well it all started with talking about myself becoming 40 years old next April 2019. It quickly moved into the realms of we should do some experiences along the way and wouldn’t it be a good time to raise some funds for something close to my heart. My wife and I immediately suggested Crohn’s and Colitis Uk. It then was decided that I should do 40 challenges and experiences to mark the occasion. It just happens to be that Crohn’s and Colitis UK are also 40 this year so they have decided to make me the focus of one of there events in November 2018. I will be doing a Bungee jump, and I absolutely hate heights!! I have completed 10 challenges/experiences so far which included tough mudder, zip now London, ninja warrior uk Aqua park, Spitfire experience at heritage hanger, skywalk, indoor sky diving and I’m learning Irish dancing as I was challenged on this haha.

How much have you raised so far from each challenge?

To date we have raised £1139.00 which is fantastic but the donations are slowing down. My target is £3000 and I promised that if I reach this target I will do my most feared challenge of all……a real sky dive. Eeeeek!!!!

You are ending your fundraising on the 27th April with a red carpet themed “Grand Finale” can you tell us a bit more about that?

The fundraising event actually lands on my birthday so we decided to celebrate on this evening to mark the end of the challenges.  The 40th challenge will be me having to perform the Irish dancing I’ve learnt for months on end. Then we have a fantastic live 6 piece band called Redlands performing all evening. Tickets will be £15pp inc a buffet. Anyone is welcome to attend from 7pm at Bourne hall, Ewell. To buy tickets you can contact my wife Kate at or 07540 198972 for more information.

For those that would like to donate to the cause how can they go about it? 

If anyone would like to kindly donate then please visit the following webpage.

We are also looking for auction/raffle prizes for the finale.

I would be very grateful and thankful as this would be going towards a fantastic charity in Crohns and Colitis UK and towards much needed research of the condition. Together we can make a huge difference in hundreds of thousands peoples lives and to one day look to find a cure from this debilitating disease.

We are still looking for challenges as we ideally want to complete 40! We currently have 24 booked in. Get in touch if you have anything in mind!

Good luck Steve!

Dee xx

Devenia Besant
Devenia (Dee) Besant is the founder of Epsom and Ewell Families. Runs a busy household as a mummy of 3 and a wife and some would say crazily committed to helping small businesses and the local community.

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