Big honour for Carbonear volunteer
Crohn’s and Colitis Canada recognizes Betty Priddle with award
Carbonear’s Betty Priddle didn’t know a thing about Crohn’s disease when her son was diagnosed in the late 1980s.
“We had never heard of Crohn’s,” she told The Compass last week. “We knew nothing about it, but it didn’t take us long to find out what that meant.”
Priddle was recently in Toronto, where she received Crohn’s and Colitis Canada’s Finkelstein Award. It recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to the organization over time.
“You don’t win an award like this by yourself. I did say that at my acceptance speech. If you don’t have volunteers who are dedicated and if you don’t have community support — a lot of businesses are good to us either for items at the walk we raffle off or for cash donations. You can’t win it on your own.”
Crohn’s disease and colitis impacts a person’s ability to digest food. They may, as a result, have trouble properly absorbing nutrients from food and eliminating waste. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, cramping, gas, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
According to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, one in 150 Canadians is living with either illness, and the number of new cases of Crohn’s disease among Canadian children has almost doubled since 1985.
In 1993, Priddle saw a notice looking for people interested in starting local chapters of the national organization.
Deciding she was game to give it a try, the school teacher helped create the Trinity Conception chapter.
Over the last 22 years, events organized by that chapter have raised over $400,000. Priddle has served as the chapter secretarytreasurer from the start.
Locally, the group has sold Christmas cakes and chocolates and organized Valentine’s Day dinners and dances.
These days, the two main fundraisers are the national walk in June — called the Gutsy Walk — and a fall raffle.
The walks take place in Bay Roberts and Dildo, and tickets for the raffle are now on sale.
The local chapter periodically sets up a booth in the TC Square Mall, with the ticket draw scheduled to happen Dec. 16.
“People over the years have opened up to me,” Priddle said with respect to selling tickets in the mall.
“They just stop and say, ‘I’ve got that too, so I’ll buy a ticket.’ Every year they see me there and I get to know their faces, so after a while they open up a bit more. One little girl even calls me the Crohn’s woman.”
Get the latest updates to this story at http://www.crohns andcolitis.ca Betty Priddle of Carbonear received the Finkelstein Award last month in Toronto. It recognizes her 20-plus years of dedicated service as a volunteer to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.