“I had 5 minutes before I was live on Sky Sports, and I urgently needed the loo!” - Georgia's Story

Georgia is a professional boxer who lives with Ulcerative Colitis. She first started experiencing symptoms in September 2021. At one point she was having around 15-20 bowel movements a day, sometimes even more. 

In this blog, Georgia shares her journey of juggling a successful boxing career alongside managing her condition. She talks about the highs and lows, including fighting in front of huge crowds at places like the O2 arena. She dreams of one day becoming a World Champion boxer, making history as the first to do so with Ulcerative Colitis. She really hopes reaching this goal will inspire others. Most importantly however, her main goal in life is to simply be happy, make others happy, and live a life that people will remember.

I first started having symptoms in September 2021. Back then I was having around 15-20 bowel movements a day, sometimes even more! These happened during the night too and I often would wake up several times with an urgent need to go to the toilet.

As my symptoms progressed, I started to experience severe stomach cramps, extreme fatigue, joint pain in my arms and legs and blood in my poo. I was really embarrassed and didn't tell anyone, as often people find the idea of having diarrhoea a bit of a joke. In May 2022 I was hospitalised for a week with pretty much every symptom of Inflammatory Bowel Disease you could think of. This led to me having a series of different tests and eventually a colonoscopy in November 2022. After this, I was diagnosed with a severe case of Ulcerative Pancolitis - a form of Ulcerative Colitis that affects the entire colon. I was obviously upset to receive a diagnosis, but on the other hand I was relieved to finally understand what was going on. I knew from that moment I would start to get what I needed in terms of medication and support.

There are a lot of challenges living with Colitis, and if I was going to describe it to someone, the first word that comes to mind is 'difficult'.

There are a lot of assumptions made about people with Colitis; I have spoken to a few people with the illness that have experienced discrimination due to the fact that they 'don't look ill'.

I think it's important for us all to remember that not all disabilities are visible. Just because someone looks okay, it doesn't mean they're not struggling. I have had accidents where I've not made it to the toilet in time and this has been extremely upsetting and stressful.


Living with Ulcerative Colitis


The inflammation in cases like mine often doesn't only affect your bowels, but other parts of the body to, which can be painful and tiring. There have been many times where my fatigue has stopped me doing things, and the constant fear of having an accident makes me afraid to go out with my family or my boyfriend. Luckily, my family and boyfriend are absolutely amazing and always understand if I would prefer to stay at home. Although it can be hard to speak up about at first, it is so important to make the people you trust aware of your symptoms, so that they can be there for you and understand your illness too.

I am very fortunate to be able to say that those closest to me have been nothing but amazing since I was diagnosed. Even before I was diagnosed, my Mam and Dad always looked after me when I was too poorly to do things for myself, and my boyfriend would sit with me every night in hospital until I fell asleep.

Most of my friends were unaware of my Colitis, however recently I've been more open and I have received nothing but well wishes and lovely comments. Having this disease has made me realise who and what truly matters in life and has allowed me to show the world that nothing can hold you back in life; it can knock you down 10 times but as long as you make sure you get up 11, you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to.

As you can imagine, being a professional boxer and living with Colitis can come with it's own set of challenges. One experience I will never ever forget was my second professional fight; I was in the dressing rooms and I had no less than 5 minutes to walk out to cameras live on Sky Sports. I REALLY needed to go to the toilet, but my boxing gloves had been taped up and signed by the boxing board official, so I couldn't take them off!

I tried to ignore the urge and focus on my fight, but in round 3 my bowels started to cramp. It was a 6 round fight so I had 3 more rounds to get through which I somehow managed, better in fact, I won every round.

It was in that specific moment I realised that Colitis could never break me.

Colitis affects everybody differently, but for me, the main approach I take to dealing with it is to try and be happy. Of course, that's easier said than done when you're having a flare-up and wondering what you did to deserve the disease in the first place, but spending time with those who love and look after you, removing negative things from your life, eating healthily and exercising regularly can all contribute to a truly amazing life, regardless of suffering from ill health.

My only other piece of advice is to try and not be ashamed or embarrassed. By talking openly, you will most likely help other people who are struggling. For me, life is not just about what you do for yourself; it is also about what you do for other people. When I am no longer here, most people will forget about the boxing titles I won, but I hope they'd remember how I helped them.

My long term goal is to be a Boxing World Champion; I came very close as an amateur boxer and just missed out in the World Championship finals narrowly losing to a Russian women who had never been beaten. To become a World Champion one day as a professional would be amazing; I think I would be the first with a chronic illness to do so and I can't help but think about how many people that will inspire.

Boxing is an important part of my life but it is not the be all and end all; I would love to go as far as I can in my academic career as a civil engineer and perhaps do something more with music. Above all, though, my main goal is to simply be happy, make others happy, and live a life that people will remember.

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