The family of a five-year-old girl who was diagnosed with a rare digestive system inflammation are campaigning to raise awareness of the condition.
Lara Dakin, of Cotton Street, Accrington, said she was ‘shocked’ after her daughter Ava Kennedy was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which affects only around one in every 650 people.
Ava was informed she had the chronic and untreatable condition in March this year and for six weeks was unable to eat and had to be fed through a tube. She also developed pancreatitis as a result of the medication and in recent weeks the condition has ‘flared up’.
Crohn’s can cause abdominal pain, fatigue, anaemia, mouth ulcers and loss of appetite.
Lara, 26, said: “She started having problems when she was 18 months old and kept taking her to her doctors and to the hospital. We ended up getting referred to Liverpool and in March she was diagnosed.
“When she was first told she was not allowed to eat and had to be fed through a tube and put on medication.
“She had the tube taken out for a while but has now got it back in as the condition has flared up.”
Mum-of-three Lara said Ava needs to have her blood tested every week and her condition will have to be managed for the rest of her life.
She said: “She is so brave about it. I couldn’t do what she does.
“It’s probably affected me more than it has her. I’m in a constant panic all the time, no so much about the Crohn’s but just the complications that come with it.
“She is getting quite self-conscious about having the tube and it’s such a shame as she is only five and she shouldn’t have to feel like that.”
Her family are now campaigning to raise awareness of the Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity.
Lara said: “It isn’t genetic as neither myself, her father or anyone in my family has it. It just developed.
“It shocked me when I found out. It has also shocked me since then how many people have it but also how little is known about it.
“I had never heard of it before Ava was diagnosed and since then a lot of people I’ve spoken to said they know someone who has it.
“We just want to create awareness around it and help other people who are going through what we have.”