‘I’m not Amy anymore’ Strictly Come Dancing star details brutal journey with Crohn’s

Amy Dowden opens up about her battle with Crohn's disease

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Amy, 31, has taken part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing since 2017. In 2019, she danced her way to second place alongside TV presenter and actor Karim Zeroual. For the first time, she opened up on her struggle with Crohn’s disease on Friday’s BBC documentary. In the programme, she detailed her harrowing experience with a bad flare-up immediately after a Strictly Come Dancing tour. One moment in the film saw her in hospital, saying she is no longer Amy when she’s experiencing a bad period of Crohn’s.

The Welsh dancing star explained that throughout 2020, she had been more ill than she had felt in a long time.

In one clip she’d filmed from hospital, a weary Amy said: “I’m on a drip now of morphine. I seem to be really struggling to get over this flare-up.”

Talking about her time on Strictly Come Dancing, Amy commented: “I’ve been reluctant about being open with my condition, but now I want to talk about how it affects me and those closest to me.

“Dancing has pulled me through my Crohn’s but it’s a battle and I live in fear that what I love the most could be taken away.”

Each year once the hit dance competition is over, the team tours the country with live shows.

But after one show, Amy was struck with a brutal bout of the illness and was hospitalised.

From her hospital bed, she reflected: “I knew I wasn’t right, but I think your body just goes into ‘Right, you’ve got to get through this, don’t let anyone down, you can do this’.

“And I think you just push yourself through anything.

“To the public watching me with all that makeup, fake tan, glitz and glamour, stones, spotlights, you know it’s a different world.

“I don’t think they could ever imagine then that this could be me the next day.”

She continued: “I can’t think how many times I’ve been in hospital, it’s got to be at least over 100.

“When I was 18/19 every month at least, for a week.

“Your body does take over. I’m not Amy anymore, I’m Amy with Crohn’s, and I hate that.”

Amy later became emotional while speaking to her parents about their own memories of her condition.

“It’s the hardest thing in the world, seeing your child in agony, without energy and not being able to do anything,” Amy’s mother Gillian commented.

“And I used to be just so sick as well,” Amy added. Her dad Richard agreed: “So sick, so lifeless.”

Richard recalled: “I just remember that awful Saturday morning. You had a big competition and you went in on the Friday.

“And you rang me up in the hospital on two intravenous drips and your arm was infected where the drip was.

“And you said ‘I don’t want to be here, Dad, I should be going to a competition today with my dance partner.”

Amy wiped away tears as she looked back on the moment.

In the programme, Amy explained how it felt to be hospitalised with Crohn’s at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and also spoke to other sufferers about the severe impact it has had on them.

Strictly Amy: Crohn’s and Me is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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