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Bristol Doctor Trek Across North America Raise Awareness Bowel Disease Children

6 April 2011

Dr Christine Spray, consultant paediatric gastroenterologist at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and her husband, will be undertaking an intensive trek across North America to raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease in children.

The large majority of children Dr Spray treats at the hospital suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) such as Crohns disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Both of these are chronic (long-term) diseases, which involve inflammation of the gut and in some children significantly impacts on their daily life. In the UK, there are approximately 1000 new cases of IBD in children per year*.

Christine and her husband will be starting their Pacific Crest Trail trek at the border of America and Mexico on 3 May 2011, collectively walking over 2700 miles.

Dr Christine Spray says:
This is a huge personal challenge for me, both physically and mentally. We will be carrying our own tent, water and food supplies to last for up to five days at a time, carrying approximately 60 pounds, before we reach any form of small town. We will have to be careful of wild animals particularly bears who can smell food many miles away, as well as having to deal with scorpions and other sorts of nasty insects. But it will all be worth it to raise awareness of this disease.

Many of the children I see are well controlled albeit on regular medications and lead a normal life but some children are very sick. Some of my patients have been in hospital for up to a year. It affects the whole family.

As well as drawing attention to this subject, Christine will also be raising funds for her unit at Bristol Childrens Hospital and two charities: CICRA (Crohns in Childhood Research Association)  and Crohns and Colitis UK (NACC).

If you would like to read more about the trek and/or make a donation please visit




* Sawczenko, A. Sandhu BK et al. (2001) Prospective survey of childhood inflammatory bowel disease in the British Isles: Lancet

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