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A number of local businesses have signed up for the programme so far, including all Dunedin City Council venues.
Crohn’s and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust (CCNZ) offers I Can’t Wait cards, identifying those with documented medical conditions where urgent access to a toilet might be needed.
I Can’t Wait affiliated businesses and workplaces prominently display stickers to show their support of the programme and signal to card holders that toilet facilities can be readily accessed.
"This is a meaningful step to ensure that members of our community with these medical issues are able to participate in daily life as much as possible,’’ Mr Hawkins said.
"It’s such a simple thing that many of us take for granted, yet has a profound impact on those affected by Crohn’s and colitis.
‘‘I’d like to encourage as many Dunedin businesses as possible to get on board with this initiative."
The nationwide campaign is being championed by 16-year old Crohn’s sufferer Nicole Thornton, who petitioned the Health Select Committee seeking better outcomes for people like herself.
"The goal of this campaign is to have businesses display these stickers throughout every city throughout the country so people like me, as well as those with other medical problems, will feel free to leave home without the fear of having an accident in public,’’ Nicole said.
"They will see that businesses care."
20,000 New Zealanders suffer from Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and, compounding all their medical challenges, fear of having an accident in public can be a major concern.
When the need arises, those with these diseases do not have time to explain their personal medical histories to a stranger and many business owners and their employees are unaware of the challenges they face.
As a result, many people are simply afraid to leave home.
Both the stickers and the I Can’t Wait cards (which require a doctor’s confirmation of the need for the card) are available at no cost.
Participating business will be recognised on the CCNZ webpage, https://crohnsandcolitis.org.nz
Window posters and "I Can’t Wait" cards can be obtained by emailing: email@example.com.