Islington bowel disease campaigner Jeane Trend-Hill nominated for Sadiq Khan Unsung Women Heroes award
PUBLISHED: 09:29 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:59 23 January 2019
"Unsung" Islington hero Jeane Trend-Hill has been recognised by the mayor of London for her voluntary work to help people with inflammatory bowel diseases.
She’s been nominated for Sadiq Khan’s Unsung Women Heroes, a programme to recognise female Londoners who have sparked positive change in their communities.
When Jeane, 50, was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis, she didn’t know where to turn.
“I felt lost and alone,” she told the Gazette.
“I didn’t know anybody else who had this.”
A few years later, she is being honoured by the mayor. “It’s a wonderful feeling to have a bit of recognition,” she said.
“I never classed myself has a hero, so to see that was like: ‘Wow!’”
Jeane was first diagnosed during a hospital stay, after her weight had plummeted to five stone. She says she had a difficult time finding people to talk to.
“Nobody really likes talking about bowels,” she explained. “It’s not the prettiest thing, and people don’t open up about it like other diseases, where people are more forthcoming. That tends to make people feel quite isolated.”
Through research online, she found MyCrohnsandColitisTeam, a social network for those living with Crohn’s or colitis. She made an account, and soon found a community.
“With these diseases, you’re often restricted to being at home, not being able to get out and meet people,” she said. “Being able to talk to people online who know what you’re going through made a huge difference to me.
“When I was diagnosed I was going through domestic abuse, and it was lot to take on.
“I really appreciated the help I received. I wanted to give something back.”
A year after her diagnosis, she was able to help others in her position by becoming an ambassador for the site.
In her role, she uses her background in counselling with the civil service to give advice.
“It’s a feeling of being able to help someone when they’ve got no clue of what to do,” she said.
It was people she met the site who went on to nominate her for the recognition from the mayor’s office.
“It’s nice because I’m quite a patriotic person – London born and bred,” said Jeane.
“I’m proud to be a Londoner and always have been.”