Crohn?s Crusaders: Tour de France
- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 5 May 2009
Cycling enthusiast Damian Watson is about to endure the ride of his life. The 31-year-old South Melbourne man is now only weeks away from departing for France where he will attempt to complete the entire 2009 Tour de France route to help ﬁnd a cure for Crohn’s Disease.
Damian, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2002, will set off from Monaco on 4 June 2009, one month before the ofﬁcial start of the Tour de France. His ‘Crohn’s Crusader’ cycling team will follow the Tour’s gruelling 3,500km route through Monaco, France, Spain, Andorra, Italy and Switzerland. He hopes his ‘Tour’ will raise much needed funds for research into Crohn’s Disease. All funds raised will beneﬁt Crohn’s & Colitis Australia? in ﬁnding a cure for Crohn’s Disease.
Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inﬂammatory bowel diseases. They cause inﬂammation, ulcers and bleeding in the digestive tract and other serious complications that require surgery. Severe and sudden bouts of diarrhoea and crippling pain can lead to malnutrition and poor growth in children. There is currently no cure and the cause is unknown. Damian hopes to see this change within his lifetime. Damian was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in April 2002. He manages the condition as best he can via a healthy diet and regular exercise. Damian is determined to use his healthy-time to make a positive difference and lead the conversation in ﬁnding a cure.
“The whole idea of the project is to raise funds and awareness for Crohn’s Disease. I aim to raise $100,000. This amount will fund a six-month research project to help ﬁnd a cure for Crohn’s” Damian said. “I aim to raise awareness via the e-newsletter subscribers so that there is a better understanding of the condition and awareness of how debilitating it is to live with Crohn’s Disease. While I am determined to complete the course, if I don’t make it, I won’t see that as a failure. As long as I can achieve the above goals I will consider the project to have been a success.”
As part of his mountain training schedule, Damian recently clocked up more than 1000kms in Victoria’s Alpine region. Although describing the climbs around Falls Creek and Mt Hotham as “miniscule” compared to what he will encounter in Europe, Damian said it is good uphill training and assisted his preparation for the event.
Crohn’s & Colitis Australia? Chief Executive Francesca Manglaviti said: “As Damian gears up for his own amazing challenge, he’s helping to raise awareness about the challenges that people face as they live with Crohn’s Disease. He is an inspiration to people living with this illness everyday. Damian is passionate about helping to ﬁnd a cure for Crohn’s Disease and we wish him all the best on the ride.”
Damian has developed the Crohn’s Crusader website www.thecrusaders.com.au where supporters can donate directly to Crohn’s & Colitis Australia? and register to receive email updates of the Crusaders progress during the ride.