Renfrewshire boy fighting Crohn's Disease suffered crippling symptoms before diagnosis

Eight-year-old Harris Coyne is very protective of his little sister Sophie but battles a crippling disease every day.
-Credit: (Image: Daily Record)

An eight-year-old schoolboy from Renfrewshire is fighting a tough, life-changing condition normally associated with much older people.

Harris Coyne is bravely battling Crohn's Disease after being diagnosed at just four years old. His illness, though currently under control, is a lifelong condition which can flare up at any time.

Little Harris is still coming to terms with it and it has left him with real feelings of anxiety, and has proved to be "challenging" for his family, the Daily Record reports.

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Crohn’s Disease is a lifelong inflammatory bowel disease which causes swelling of the tissues in the digestive tract, and leads to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

Now the wee boy is starring in a new video aimed at highlighting the pain and loneliness of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Collitis.

Harris’ mum Jenna, 40, said in the early days it was thought the little boy had gastric flu but while the flu symptoms cleared up he continued to run to the toilet about 10 times a day.

Jenna said: “We handed in a stool sample and after that there was a rapid turnaround. The next day they got in touch to say his inflammation levels were sky high.

“Before his treatment was settled I had to carry a potty about because you just didn’t know when you were going to have to pull the car over.”

Little Harris is enjoying getting back to sport because his condition is currently under control
Little Harris is enjoying getting back to sport because his condition is currently under control -Credit:Tony Nicoletti

Harris missed out on the fun he should have been having from just starting school but was forced to sit out at parties and school activities because of the stomach pains.

Jenna added: “That transformed into anxiety which made him not want to go to school.

“He would have meltdowns. One week we only managed to get him to go one half day out of five because he would have tantrums at the gate.”

Even now he needs help when he goes to the toilet because his parents have to monitor any changes which may indicate there is a rise in inflammation.
And he has had to see a child psychologist to help both him and his parents cope with his day to day anxiety.

He lives in fear of something happening to his wee sister Sophie, six.

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Jenna said: “He wants her to stay near me all the time and if she ventures off at softplay for example he becomes really distressed.”

He also sees the psychologist when he needs to go into hospital for procedures which can be quite regular.

Jenna said: “He goes into hospital for infusions of infliximab every four weeks and has also had three endoscopies and MRI scans.

“As a parent it has been really challenging. Not being able to fix it is the worst bit.

“We just hope with age it will get easier to manage.”

Harris’s treatment has now caused his condition to settle and he is now doing martial arts and swimming and has recently started kicking a football about.

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Before, his anxiety and pain levels were too great to enable him to join clubs but he is now beginning to get his life back on track.

Jenna said: “He tugs at my heartstrings every day.”

The new video produced by IBS charity, the Catherine McEwan Foundation, for world Inflammtory Bowel Disease Awareness Day, aims to raise awareness of the conditions.

It features the world’s first QR code made from empty toilet rolls which form a giant ‘portal’.

On scanning, the QR code comes to life with a straight-talking film about how “sh*t” it is living with IBD.

Derek McEwan, founder of the Catherine McEwan Foundation, said: “One in 100 people suffer from IBD. That’s more than 500,000 people in the UK, which is staggering.

“Hiding our film stars behind the QR code and indoors, is a metaphor for how it can feel living with IBD.

“This campaign is about recognising their struggles and ensuring them that we see them. They’re not alone.”