Student Who Discovered Serious Illness After Christmas Dinner, Now Helps Others

A musical theatre student who ate only two mouthfuls of Christmas dinner before doubling up in pain is now helping others seek medical help.

Lucy Harman, 20, from Chichester, West Sussex, lost 4st in 30 days and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a lifelong condition where parts of the digestive system become inflamed. She started posting on TikTok and received lovely comments, including one from someone who got checked and found out they had colon cancer.

She started to feel weak all the time and couldn’t keep her food down, but she ignored her worrying symptoms and hoped that it would go away. Her drop in weight was another sign that something was wrong, but her family didn’t know at first. When she came home for Christmas break, her mum commented that she looked a lot skinnier.

Lucy’s reluctance to seek medical advice stemmed from wanting to see her grandparents for Christmas. She feared that going to the doctor would ruin her chances of seeing them, plus she is a self-proclaimed Christmas lover. Her worsening health came to a head on Christmas Day, when she passed out on the sofa and was rushed to hospital.

She awoke in hospital on Boxing Day to be told she was suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration. Her organs were going into failure and her stomach wasn’t working properly. Lucy spent the week between Christmas and New Year in hospital being treated with steroids and immunosuppressants, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. She was given a feeding tube for six months.

Lucy began posting videos about her journey on TikTok, where she now has over one million likes and nearly 5,000 followers. One comment inspired a guy to get checked and find out he had colon cancer. The campaign is all about helping people get an early diagnosis of Crohn’s and prevent people from being in the situation she was in.

You can fill out a questionnaire about your symptoms and get advice and a letter to take to your GP.