This Is Caitlyn Hamilton.
To all intents and purposes she is a normal 14 year old girl who loves her football, swimming and loves to be active.
Looking at her she is the same as every other girl her age; a happy girl with a cheeky smile.
But scratch the surface and you soon realise that Caitlyn is not the same as other girls her age, she is living with Crohns Disease.
You may well ask what it is? In simple terms Crohns disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system. It effects people in many different ways and one of those ways is fatigue making very simple things seem like a mammoth task.
You wouldn’t normally expect someone with Crohns to be active because of the pain and exhaustion they suffer from but Caitlyn is the exception to the rule. Not only is Caitlyn a dedicated footballer playing for Lanarkshire Hibs U15s in the Central Lee Alexander League.
She is also an accomplished swimmer challenging herself and winning medals and often beating her personal best with her swimming club Lanark ASC.
It’s safe to say that Caitlyn is an inspiration to us all.
One of the saddest things about Caitlyn’s story is that time after time Caitlyn has people who often challenge her and say things like “you look fine to me” or if she isn’t performing to her high standard “are you still using that excuse”. Unfortunately, there are people out there that don’t understand that NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE.
Members of Jax Mc Media who are also disabled have experienced this and it’s hard enough for us who have been living with negative attention for years but we can’t imagine how Caitlyn must feel as she is so young and has a lot to deal with.
Rather than looking at the surface please understand that no one choses a disability and that it choses you. This amazingly talented youngster deserves out support and we admire her as she is truly an ambassador for the Girls and Womens game in Scotland and she will continue to be herself.
Caitlyn was fed using a tube and from what we hear it isn’t the most pleasant-smelling liquid food she gets. Imagine not having Christmas dinner or sweets at Halloween or even a chocolate Easter egg.
I know most teenagers can’t imagine life without a subway or a McD’s. Can you try to imagine how your teenager would cope without eating food.
Lyndsay her mum said “Caitlyn has been really unwell and often she has been in the Royal Hospital for Children and Wishaw General and has received the most amazing care. She has now been diagnosed with Crohns Disease and has been exceptionally ill but remained incredibly brave and always smiling.
She was fed through a tube via her nose to try to stabilise her condition and was unable to eat any 'food’ for 5 of the last 12 months.
This is a lifetime diagnosis that many people have and deal with and comes in a myriad of variables for those suffering from it.
Caitlyn, we are so proud of you and particularly of how you are dealing with this huge change to your life. Not only are you determined to remain in your normal routine, but you're doing it all with your usual smiles and laughter despite often having little or no energy. You will always be my baby girl, but you are handling this like the mature young lady you are and I will always make sure that you get the all the love and support needed to get through difficult times.
She has now had her feeding tube removed and whilst she still has special drinks to be included in her diet to ensure that she continues to improve, she is allowed a slow return to eating food.
Caitlyn is still struggling with her energy levels and it's possible that this may always be the case, but she is determined that this will not hold her back, stop or define her.
The difficulty is now that she looks 'normal' and that her health worries are invisible. She will always have Crohns but it will not stop her.
She is now on daily medication to help control her condition and is going back into hospital regularly for tests; whist she is not enthusiastic, she knows that all this is not in vain and that it will hopefully improve her quality of life.
The last couple of months have been a struggle and I know that this is not the end, but Caitlyn has proven that she is strong enough and brave enough to face the challenge head on.
Thanks so much to everyone who has supported Caitlyn so far and hopefully she will continue to thrive.”
Caitlyn said about dealing with Crohns “It’s made me so tired all the time and because I couldn’t eat I was really drained.
Swimming and Football were the only things that made me still feel normal, but it was still quite hard because I would get tired more easily.”
The reason we have brought Caitlyn’s Story to you is to let you know that recently this amazing Girl was awarded The Junior Female sports personality of the year.
Well done to you and keep us updated on your progress. From all your friends at Jax Mc Media