Strictly Come Dancing pro Amy Dowden has spoken candidly about her Crohn’s disease and how it impacted her career in the past.
The Welsh dancer, 30, reflected on her health battle and its impact on her profession during an appearance on BBC Morning Live on Tuesday.
Asked by co-hosts Kym Marsh and Gethin Jones about how chronic illness had determined her to pursue her career, she began, “Oh, absolutely. So I have suffered since I was 11, I was only diagnosed at 19.
Discussion: Strictly’s Amy Dowden discussed her Crohn’s disease on BBC Morning Live on Tuesday and how she is determined to continue her career despite it
But at 19 I was hospitalized for 6 weeks at a time and missed the British Championships. And I knew what it was like to see myself take my dance off, and yeah, I think I wanted to prove that I can do that.
“My dance for me was my savior, it put me in my happy place and in the end it took me away from my worries.
‘When people said to me’ oh I don’t think you are going to be able to do it ‘or that I was turned down fabulous opportunities to dance because of my Crohn’s disease, I was like’ How dare- they? They don’t live in my body. ”
“And I think that kind of made me more determined to do this, and no one is going to take away my greatest passion in life.” “
Candid: Amy said: “When I was 19 I was hospitalized for 6 weeks at a time and missed the UK Championships… I knew what it was like to have my dance taken off”
Frappe: Saying that dancing was her “savior”, she said of those who turned down her job because of her chronic illness: “How dare they? They don’t live in my body ‘
Amy also explained how chronic disease works, saying, “Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the digestive system, it can start in the mouth and it can affect the entire colon.
“It can cause narrowing of the gut, ulcers, inflammation and everyone has different symptoms, and unfortunately it’s a chronic disease, so at the moment there is no cure. “
On Saturday, JJ Chalmers paid a moving tribute to Amy and congratulated her for “never letting him down” despite her daily battle with Crohn’s disease, admitting that she “could wake up any day and be hospitalized ”because of the illness.
JJ and Amy were rejected Strictly 2020 after missing a place in the semi-finals, as the judges voted to save Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer after a tense dance.
Passion: Amy added that she had missed “fabulous opportunities” in the past because of the way people view the disease, but said the rejection made her “more determined to do it”
Final two: Amy JJ Chalmers was kicked out of Strictly 2020 on Saturday, as judges voted to save Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer after a tense dance
Speaking after their elimination, JJ referred to Amy’s ongoing battle against Crohn, after the dancer previously admitted that she “lives in fear” it could end her career.
He said, “She’s been through so much fairness.
“I know any day she can wake up and she could be hospitalized basically, so she lives for fear of letting people down. But the way you built me, you could never let me down.
A moved Amy added, “Aw JJ, it has been an absolute honor to be your partner and above all friend, throughout your Strictly experience. He is, and everyone will agree, one of the most sincere gentlemen in the world.
Sweet: The host praised Amy for supporting him throughout their Strictly journey despite fears she could be “hospitalized any day” due to the illness.
“I honestly believe that working with JJ over the past few months has made me a better person and learned so much.
“The way he faces challenges with such strength and determination, you have helped me face my own personal challenges for the rest of my life. And honestly I’m so proud of every step you’ve taken on this floor, I just had the best time.
“I didn’t think I could fall in love with Strictly anymore and this year my heart is just beaming with Strictly and it’s up to absolutely everyone and I love you all. “
In October, Amy spoke candidly about her ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease in the BBC film in Strictly Amy: Crohn’s And Me.
Opening: In October, Amy discussed her battle with Crohn’s disease in a BBC documentary, admitting she “lives in fear” it could end her dancing career
She said, “It was strictly more than a dance performance for me, it got me through the darkest times of my illness. For me it was a great inspiration to make me dance.
“Dancing pulled me through my Crohn’s disease but it’s a battle. I live in fear that what I love most might be taken away. And I have been sicker this year than I have been in a long time.
The Welsh beauty, who reached the Strictly final last year with Karim Zeroual, has explained in detail that she lives with the long-term illness, which causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
Battle: She filmed her hospitalization with the illness this spring, which occurred during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and came months before the new series Strictly
She filmed her hospitalization with the illness this spring, which occurred at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and came months before the new Strictly series.
In heartbreaking scenes, she is seen vomiting and passing out after finishing her work on the last Strictly tour; she was then rushed to hospital.
Amy – who first experienced symptoms at age 11, eight years before her diagnosis at age 19 – said it showed the stark contrast between her glamorous TV appearances and her real life.
Plans: Her Crohn’s flair, along with the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, sabotaged her plans to tie the knot with her fiance and dance partner Ben Jones. Photographed together in 2018
She said: “To the audience watching me with all our makeup, fake tan, glitter, glamor and spotlight, it’s a different world. I don’t think they could imagine it could be me the next day.
“I knew things were wrong but your body said, ‘Well, you’ve got to go through this, you don’t want to let anyone down, you can do it. And you can just push yourself through anything.
Amy, who joined Strictly in 2017, admitted that she celebrated once she was finally diagnosed with the condition because it meant she could seek the appropriate treatment.
For help with the disease contact Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity on 0300 222 5700 or visit www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
Inflammation most often occurs in the last section of the small or large intestine, but it can affect any part of the digestive system.
Common symptoms can include:
- abdominal pain
- fatigue (extreme fatigue)
- unintentional weight loss
- blood and mucus in your stools (stools)
Remission occurs when people with the disease go for long periods without symptoms, but these periods can be followed by flare-ups.
Why this happens
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, research suggests that a combination of factors may be responsible. These include:
genetic – the genes you inherit from your parents may increase your risk of developing Crohn’s disease
the immune system – inflammation can be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack healthy bacteria in the gut
previous infection – a previous infection may trigger an abnormal immune system response
smoking – smokers with Crohn’s disease usually have more severe symptoms than non-smokers
environmental factors – Crohn’s disease is most common in westernized countries like the UK, and least common in poorer parts of the world like Africa, suggesting that the environment has a role to play