This is the most personal post I have ever shared. You may think this was a difficult decision for me, actually it was made in a heart-beat for the reason I am sharing below.
My friends know I have three passions in my life.
First, wealth education and property investing as that funds everything for me.
Secondly, my family and friends. (You may say “Family must be first.” Well if it is then how do I pay for anything?)
Thirdly, I am increasingly spending time with Crohn's patients and their families.
This is very special for me. I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at the age of 14 and spent a year in hospital.
I have had many operations and massive amounts of medication since. Visits to hospitals over several decades.
Around eight years ago I refused to let my disease run and ruin my life. And for several years now, I have been free of all medication and (mostly) symptom free. We are the result of the choices we make in life.
Giving back in the small way I do means a lot to me; every week I am regularly talking to people with my disease.
I was once called by a distraught father. His seven-year-old son had just been diagnosed with Crohn's and his dad was terrified. This is so often the case. His son does not know enough to be scared. It is a truly scary experience to imagine our perfect little ones being in pain and even going under a surgeon’s knife. As a father of six children myself I know the desperation arising from a lack of control, not being able to “make it ok” for our sons and daughters. We want to keep them safe in every way we can.
The little boy’s dream was to be a pilot. His dad was crying and he told me his son was crying. Not because he had Crohn’s — he did not know what that meant. The doctors had told this little boy to “grow-up”, “be realistic”, and accept he would never be a pilot.
I hate that with a passion. It is unfair, crass and wrong. Why does a doctor feel qualified to decree a seven-year-old boy’s future? That young man will become whatever he is determined to be.
I talked to the dad and emailed him a picture for his son: me, 51 years old at the time, having had Crohn's for 37 years then, on no medication at all, feeling great and flying a helicopter.
His father told me his son had a huge blow-up of that picture of me on his bedroom wall.
Please do not let anyone ever tell you that your dreams are unachievable.
As I said that was a while ago….
On Wednesday this week I felt like I had been hit by a wall.
A friend told me that his godfathers son had just taken this own life. He could no longer endure the pain he was in. He had Crohn’s. I felt so sorry, helpless, distraught, emotionally pained and frustrated. Could I have done more to help? Should I have made more effort to tell more people with Crohn’s I want to help? This was the moment I decided I had to send you this message.
I have to say more, I have to do more, I have to help more people. My disease does not define me — it enables me.
This came on top of me (very unusually) not sleeping on Monday and feeling pretty rough on Tuesday. That will sometimes happen if you have Crohn's.
When I was 14 in hospital, I read Dune (and many other books). I distinctly remember a teenage boy in the book enduring a right of passage. I empathised strongly with him at the time.
He had to put his hand in a box and was subjected to to the most excruciating pain. His teacher told him, "Be like a rock in a river, let the pain flow over you and around you, not through you.”
Every time I am in pain I remember that. Once you give in and the spasms get worse it becomes a downward cycle. If you let the pain flow over you and around you, when the pain dies down — which it will — you will still be there.
Pain is a natural response of the body to a problem. Deal with the problem and it stops. Fight the pain and it gets worse.
So a long post ending with a request. If you or anybody you know suffers with Crohn's or Colitis, please share this email with them and please ask them to get in touch.
I want to do what I can to help. Next year I will start running webinars and classes aimed at helping people with the disease I know so well. I want to lecture doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals so they can better understand the needs of people like me with Crohn’s disease.
I do have a few bad days but huge amounts of perfect ones too. I want to share with as many people as possible the techniques I have learned over almost four decades of dealing with this disease.
Please don’t let anyone tell you your dreams aren’t achievable. Aniko and I had a dream and now it’s a reality.
We want to help you realise yours, and the best way we know how is through education. Especially if you have a condition that means you can not rely on your body to do physical work or a regular job like me, then you need a business to work for you. Build a real business and you will never need to work again a day in your life. As Warren Buffet said, “If you do not learn to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” Now is that not the absolute truth?