In the UK, over 250000 people has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In Norway 2-300 people is diagnosed with Crohn’s every year! Spencer Taylor, or BadJokesGaming is just one of many in the world today living with Crohn’s disease. Others may be your old school mate you haven’t seen for long, your friend or one in your family. It can be one on your job or your next door neighbor.
It’s impossible to see who has it or not. Still it affects the daily life over the ones who got it, their social life and mental health.
Today I’d like to put attention to the Crohn’s disease and the fundraising for the Crohn’s and Colitis UK foundation. In this event, I’ve been fortunate to get an interview with Spencer Taylor where you’ll be able to learn more about how it is to live with Crohn’s or colitis, his charity stream and fundraising.
In the weeks leading up to the ‘Walk It’ event in May, Spencer Taylor will stream live for charity on Twitch every Wednesdays and Sundays his brand new FM20 challenge entitled Relegation Survival until May 16th, 2020.
What’s Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system.
Common symptoms are redness, swelling and major pains in the gastrointestinal tract or gut, diarrhea, blood in the stool, anemia, constipation, loss of weight which further impacts a decreased quality of life for the ones with it. Every person living with Crohn’s will have good and bad periods (relapses or flare-ups).
The Crohn’s disease can be split into two forms;
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Ulcerative Colitis
People with Crohn’s and Colitis might require frequent hospital admissions and attention, due to anemia, damages to the gut, frequent volvulus’ and other complications. In the worst case scenario, the person might need surgery to remove parts of the gut and even remove it entirely which makes them live with a colostomy bag instead.
Drug treatment for Crohn’s usually aims to reduce symptoms, control flare-ups and achieve remission. They are given to reduce inflammation over longer and shorter periods of time.
It’s not infectious, but the cause of why someone gets the disease has not yet to be found, nor a cure for it. You can read more about Crohn’s disease here.
Interview with Spencer Taylor
E: First of all, thanks for taking the time to let me interview you Spencer and for putting a face to the condition and taking the effort to raise funds for Crohn’s disease.
S: Thank you for doing this, I really appreciate you taking the time to put this together.
E: Most of us know you as BadJokesGaming. Would you care to tell us a bit about yourself?
S: Ok, so my name’s Spencer. I’m 29 almost 30. I’m currently living in South Wales, but I grew up in East London so I’m a massive West Ham fan and I’ve had Crohns almost half my life now, and as well as that I’m a carer for my other half and her brother.
I’ve been doing Youtube for almost 3 years now, primarily FM content with other games sprinkled here and there
You can check out my Youtube channel at youtube.com/badjokesgaming
E: How would you describe yourself by using only three words?
S: Sarcastic, Loyal and Determined
E: How old where you when you got diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and when did you and your family start to realize something wasn’t quite normal?
S: I was just turning 15 when things started being not quite right. I used to be able to wolf down any and all food. My mum used to give me the nickname the human dustbin as i would eat everything, but just after i turned 15, my appetite rapidly diminished and I would have severe pains in my stomach to the point where I was pretty much confined to my bed and the bathroom for about 6 months.
During that time we had tests with the doctors, but they didn’t know what was wrong, and it took me throwing up during my interview to get into college for me to finally get admitted to hospital, and for the doctors to finally diagnose me with Crohn’s.
E: How has the disease affected your life? And how was it to grow up and go through the teens with it?
S: It was tough growing up with Crohns, as before i got ill, I would be out playing football and running around with my mates, then that all stopped when I got ill and I got very isolated, and my social life just ground to a halt. Which obviously affected my confidence to where I became pretty much a recluse, not really talking to anybody.
As for how it affects my life now, it affects it pretty much every day, even when I’m not in a full blown flare up, as the anxiety about doing simple things like going shopping, or going for a haircut, or anything in public really is quite bad, as I need to plan out where the nearest toilet is at all times in case an emergency happens.
E: I’m sure there are many out there who does not understand how it is to live with Crohn’s. Care to describe how a bad week look like for you?
S: OK so I’ll describe what a week during a flare up is like:
I’ll have no appetite to eat, and my stomach will start shrinking in on itself, as I’m not eating, and it will feel like someone is trying to cut a razor sharp knife out from inside my stomach, and anything i do manage to eat, will leave my system very rapidly, either by me throwing up or by me having very quick diarrhea where i need Usain Bolt type speed to make it to the nearest toilet. During a flare up, I will need to go to the toilet around 15 times a day, which with the pain once again brings my life to a grinding halt, as I will be housebound until I either get better or have to be admitted to hospital.
E: I understand the condition is highly private, but what made you be open about it? Was there a particular incident or does it just come natural to you? And what made you decide to raise funds for Crohn’s?
S: I think as far as being open about it, it’s just a case of getting older and being more comfortable in my own skin, so I can say I have this condition, and the people that are around me right now are really good and really accepting of it, and don’t make a big deal of it.
I’ve decided to try and raise funds for Crohns as I’ve recently been put on this medication called Humira, which i take 1 injectable pen of, every 2 weeks but it’s a very expensive medicine, which if I was in America, and paying for it without insurance, would cost $2700 a month for those 2 injectables. So seeing that it is such an expensive medicine, I would like to be able to raise some funds to go towards hopefully researching different medication that hopefully wouldn’t cost as much.
E: If you could offer any advice to youngsters reading this and persons battling similar conditions but has not yet received a diagnosis, what would you tell them?
S: If you haven’t got a diagnosis yet, then please keep nagging away at the doctors until they diagnose you properly. I have spoken to so many people who have been misdiagnosed, before they eventually got their Crohn’s diagnosis.
E: Personally I have to admit I’ve used Football Manager to battle anxiety and a similar condition of yours, when did you start to experience the wonderful world of Football Manager?
I first found manager games at around 8 or 9. The first one i remember playing, was Premier Manager 98 on the Playstation and I’ve been hooked ever since, to the point where when I was asked what i want to do when i grew up, all my mates would say “I wanna be up front for West Ham,” instead of that I would say I want to be the manager and run the club.
As for CM/FM, the first game i played was CM99/00 and I’ve played every CM game up until the split, and then every FM game ever since, and regularly used to stay up all night during college, playing the game because I always needed just 1 more game.
E: You’re a great inspiration in the Football Manager Community and the many so-called #smallyoutubers. What made you get into making content and how long have you created FM related Youtube videos?
S: I’ve always done the things most people do when playing FM, like doing the imaginary press conferences on the toilet, and suiting up for cup finals (on the rare occasions I reached one), and commentating on the games.
So, about 3 years ago, my other half, Abi said that I should give Youtube a go, and it was a perfect storm really, as around that time both Lollujo and Loki Doki both brought out ‘How To Youtube’ series, so I had a starting point there to understand what I needed to do to get started.
E: Are there any specific FM content creators who you regularly watch and motivates and inspires you to make Football Manager content?
S: I try and watch Loki every day, as not only do I really enjoy his content and I admire how hard he works on his channel. I also consider him a friend as he has done a lot for my channel.
Also this year I’m really enjoying Second Yellow Card’s Notts County series, as I like how he manage to engage his audience and build a community around his videos.
E: After 3 years in the FM community are there anything that has surprised you about creating content?
S: I’ve been in the community for almost 3 years, and the things that have surprised me most are how much work goes into getting a video out onto Youtube. I have to admit, before I started, I thought it was quite simple, but it takes a lot of time from recording, to editing, to releasing, and then promoting it can be a full time job on its own sometimes.
The other thing that has surprised me, is how much I enjoy the background part of content creation. I really enjoy editing and making graphics in After Effects so much, so I wish I had done media production rather then IT in college.
E: What are your hopes for the future both for your Youtube channel and your life with Crohn’s?
S: The hopes for the future for the Youtube channel, are to grow a community around my channel and my videos, and hopefully in the not too distant future, to hit the magical 1000 subscriber mark. Not so much for the monetization, but as it’s a massive landmark that when I started, I never thought I would get close to.
As for the Crohns I’d love to be able to stay as healthy for as long as possible, and for people to understand about the condition a bit better, and to understand that although I may look okey, there are bad days where the condition really does affect why I can and can’t do things some days.
E: Finally, we need to talk about the fundraising you’ll be doing for the next weeks. Why do you think people should support the Crohn’s and colitis UK fund raising and how can the related family help the one with this condition?
S: So I think people should support Crohn’s and Colitis UK, as like I said earlier, the current medication is stupidly expensive, so research needs to be done in getting better, cheaper medicine, and as well it affects a lot more people then you might realize. It really could be affecting anybody you know, and they may not be talking about it.
Family can help sufferers by supporting them just by doing simple things, like helping them to the nearest toilet without them feeling embarrassed, and not making them feel bad when they can’t do physical activity, even though they may look fine.
In short, just be there emotionally for them, and let them know they’re not on their own with this condition.
I will be doing my bit to try and raise funds, by dong charity streams twice a week on twitch.tv/badjokesgames at 18-20PM GMT on Wednesdays and 12-14 PM GMT on Sunday.
I will also be doing a 10km walk in Swansea on the 16th of May to try and raise funds for Crohns and Colitis UK.
If you’d like to support the Crohn’s and Colitis fundraising I’m doing please drop by on Twitch tonight or click here to donate money to the cause.
E: Thanks for the interview Spencer! It was great to have you on board and I hope this little interview will help others out there who suffers from Crohn’s or battles with similar conditions. We’ll wish you all the best and we’ll cheer on you in the ‘Walk It’ in Swansea in May!
S: Thanks for having me on! I hope to see you all in my stream tonight and the recurring weeks! Every Wednesday and Sunday until May 16th guys!
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