A Manchester mother whose son has Ulcerative Colitis has created a comprehensive guide for young people with IBD, who want to take a gap year in Israel.
Chava Erlanger, from Prestwich, runs therapeutic art sessions for the charity Camp Simcha which also supported her son, along with the Crohn’s and Colitis charity, Jewish Digest.
The two charities have collaborated to produce the 14-page guide after Ms Erlanger had researched it for her 19-year-old son’s year in Israel.
It contains everything travellers with IBD or other chronic conditions might need to know, from accessing help at the airport to how to get blood tests or infusions administered to organisations which can get emergency medication or care.
“For someone with a chronic condition requiring medication and at risk of flare-ups at any time, there is a lot to consider when you travel,” explains Ms Erlanger. “As a parent of a child in this position, I want him to have every opportunity that his peers have, but the logistics can be stressful and worrying.
“While most kids going to Israel on a gap year are just worrying about how many pairs of trainers to take, we were looking into how he could access medications from the UK when he needed to regularly renew prescriptions; how to get insurance and what to do if he has a flare–up.
“Inflammatory Bowel Diseases aren’t a visible disability but they can cause pain, fatigue and other difficult symptoms even when you think it is in remission. If you are in an airport and these come on, you need to know how to get help.
“A lot of people don’t know this but all UK airports have a sunflower lanyard system, which is a globally recognised scheme for non-visible disabilities. This is a discreet way to let staff know that you may need additional support.”
Deborah Eckstein, co-founder of Jewish Digest, said: “Chava has drawn on her own experiences to compile this useful guide for students with IBD travelling to Israel. No doubt this will prove to be a valuable resource and help many others who find themselves in a similar position.”
Daniel Gillis, Camp Simcha Head of Services, added: “It was great to collaborate with Jewish Digest on this fantastic and comprehensive guide which Chava created. We hope it makes life that bit easier for students and anyone with hidden disabilities looking to travel to Israel.”
To request a copy of the guide email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can download it at https://www.jewishdigest.org