His health problems first surfaced in the summer of 2003, when he was a lanky 17-year-old, living in Gorey, Co Wexford. “I started to lose weight,” he begins. “So I had blood tests, which showed I was anaemic and needed iron.” But in spite of medical interventions, Ian lost another three stone, which was not good for someone who was already thin. During this, his Leaving Certificate year, Ian missed 30 crucial days of school.
Then came a morning when he was so fatigued he couldn’t even get out of bed. “Food was just running through me,” he remembers. “Half an hour after I’d eaten, I’d be dashing for the loo.” So, his doctor referred him to St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, where he was given a colonoscopy, which eventually led to a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (UC).
In Ian’s case, ulcers (or sores) were discovered on the inside of his …