A university student from Builth Wells is putting the spotlight on an often invisible and widely misunderstood condition that affects thousands of people across Wales.

Amber Davies, 21, lives with a permanent stoma as a result of Ulcerative Colitis, a condition that she has battled since her early teens.

It's a debilitating condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel). At the moment there is no cure, but drugs, and sometimes surgery, can give long periods of relief from symptoms.

The former Builth Wells High School pupil is an active campaigner for the Crohn’s & Colitis UK charity through raising awareness of the condition with her thousands of followers on Instagram. She's also embarking on several challenges, including the Cardiff Half Marathon, to raise funds for vital research into new treatments that could improve patients’ quality of life and eventually find a cure.

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Amber spoke with politicians at an event to mark World IBD Day at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to discuss ways on how to reduce the stigma and improve health services in Wales.

She said: “Days like these are extremely important in raising a profile for these often hidden illness. I myself have experienced conflict in the general public first hand due to not always complying with people’s perceptions of disability - something that can prove extremely difficult when you’re desperately in need of help.

“Patient involvement is significantly important in demonstrating this to those policy makers so that we can begin making a difference to all of those within the circle of IBD whether these be patients, staff, families so that all of those affected have access to the adequate resources they need.”

Among the attendees at the event was Brecon and Radnorshire AM Kirsty Williams.

“World IBD Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and break down some of the stigma that exists," she said.

"People shouldn’t suffer in silence and I hope World IBD Day leads to more people getting the support they need."

She added that she will be asking Powys Teaching Health Board about the plans that have been put in place that support people living with the condition.

“New standards for care are being developed and I will be contacting the local health board about the provision of services locally.”

  • To donate towards Amber's fundraising challenges, visit her JustGiving page