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Why I Love... Corfu

Gary Douch proves how having a bowel condition like Crohn’s disease shouldn’t stop you from having a relaxing break

“My wife and I recently went on holiday without the kids; it was the first time in 20 years. We chose Corfu, one of the Greek islands, because of the weather.

We stayed at an adult-only resort, at Acharavi on Corfu’s north coast. When we arrived, everything was so perfect, it seemed too good to be true. We kept on saying, “There will be something wrong with this place in a minute,” but there wasn’t. It was fantastic!

Throughout our holiday, the weather was lovely - low to mid-30s every day. We spent a lot of time sunbathing and reading, either by the pool or on the beach. There was waiter service in both places, so we had a few cocktails; the mojitos went down very nicely! We also had lemon twists – well, it’s important to keep hydrated!

Corfu was more beautiful than I’d imagined. We hired a car for a couple of days and drove down the west coast to Corfu Town, the capital, where we visited the new and old docks.
We also travelled through the mountains; winding roads take you right up, so you can look down on coves and stunning bays. Some beaches are quite commercial of course, but many are still unspoilt.

One day, my wife wanted to see where Gerald Durrell (the author of My Family And Other Animals) lived. We visited his home, The White House, in the village of Kalami on the north-east coast. The building has a seafood restaurant downstairs. After we had a look, we jumped off the jetty and went swimming!

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1997 and have had six major bowel operations since. Ten years ago, I set up Bowel Disease UK from my hospital bed. Since then, we have raised half a million pounds for research at St George’s hospital in London.
When you have inflammatory bowel disease, it’s really important to try to relax, as stress is known to cause flare ups. That’s why this holiday was fantastic. It taught me there’s nothing worse than being ill, and that half the things you worry about in life, aren’t worth getting stressed over at all.

We only had 10 days in Corfu but because the holiday was so relaxing, it felt like weeks! I came back feeling so good that all I want to do now is go again!”

Bowel Disease UK www.boweldisease.org.uk is a charity that raises money to fund research into inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer at St George's University Hospital. Visit www.justgiving.com/bduk to make a donation.

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