Seinfeld’s George Costanza once bragged about inventing the i-toilet, an app that leads you to the nearest available dunny anywhere in the world.
Rebecca Garner actually downloaded a toilet finding app – her son William used to need to go up to 30 times a day.
Bright, freckled and cheery William looks as healthy as any 11-year-boy you’ll see.
But he suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – Crohn’s disease. Often dismissed as a “pooping” problem, it’s a serious, debilitating condition that can ruin young lives.
“It’s an invisible disease, sufferers look so well on the outside but turn them inside out it’s a different story,” Rebecca said.
Rebecca says for this reason, it’s difficult to attract public attention or funding to the illness, though it’s set to affect 100,000 Australians by 2022.
But nothing attracts attention better than a poo shake, a fitting means of raising money of those impacted by the condition.
The owners of You Me Happy Tea, a chic Newtown-style cafe in Hanwood, have stepped in to help. With World IBD day coming up on 19 May, they are making poo shakes from ice cream and chocolate – $6 out the $7.50 going to Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, who are doing research into a cure – of which there is currently none. Fifty per cent of other shakes sold will also go to charity.
Diagnosed with IBD as an eight-year-old, William suffers from constant cramping and abdominal pain. He’s also unable to play team sports with the rest of the boys, and gets picked on by kids who laugh at him for his frequent bathroom trips.
Last year, William had surgery to remove his bowel, and like everything else, he took it in his stride.
“It didn’t hurt at all. I was too drugged up,” he said. The surgery helped ease his pain and toilet trip frequency.
Go karting is his escape, he’s reached speeds of 97km/h and hopes to one day to be a formula 1 driver
His family have been doing a lot of driving, and flying, too.
“At one stage we were taking him to Sydney every fortnight for treatment. Without support, it really drills a hole in your finances,” Rebecca said.
But she remains hopeful.
“One day I’d like to wake up to find out there’s a cure.”
Donations to Crohn’s and Colitis Australia can be made through their website