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CEO And Board Chair Swim With The Eels To Raise Money For Kids

In what was perhaps the most unusual display of self-sacrifice so far this year, the CEO and Board Chair of Crohn’s and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust (CCNZ) ventured into a pond, laden with the famed New Zealand longfin eel, also known as ōrea.

It was just one of several challenges that netted several thousands of dollars to support Camp Purple Live, their annual six-day camp for children and teens with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This camp gives kids the opportunity to make friends and spend time with people who understand their unique struggles. Through fundraising efforts, this camp is completely free for the kids.

“I am absolutely terrified of eels”, CEO Belinda Brown exclaimed, “but the money goes for a fabulous cause” Belinda, who has Crohn’s disease herself, is also “Camp Mum” and the driving force behind the camp. She emphasises that “the camp gives the children and volunteers a week together where everyone understands the challenges of living with these chronic diseases. It is hard enough dealing Crohn’s and colitis as an adult, but, for children and teens, it can be even more difficult. The hospitalisations, the symptoms, missed time from school, and need to be on immunosuppressant medications can be very isolating”.

In other challenges, Brown stoically stood still, while several campers had the opportunity to smash cream pies into her face for every $100 raised.

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Dr. Richard Stein, Board Chair for the trust, joined her in the pond and reluctantly agreed to have his hair and moustache dyed purple, the international colour for these diseases. “I will have a bit of explaining to do to my patients next week”, he said.

Belinda points out that “there are over 20,000 people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in New Zealand, which has one of the highest rates of these diseases in the world. This year we have 39 dedicated volunteers, including 5 doctors, 5 nurses, and a child psychologist, all of whom give up their annual leave to be at camp with the children”.

Camp Purple Live is made possible through the generosity of our sponsors and countless individuals. The camp is entirely free, including transportation from all corners of New Zealand.

For more information about Camp Purple Live 2024 or the Crohn's and Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust, please contact us (information below) and watch the video:

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