DURING a family holiday to Majorca three years ago, Nathan Hughes found himself in excruciating stomach pain which almost led to him being hospitalised.
The Orford-based plasterer had no idea he was suffering with an inflammatory bowel disease that many people have never heard of, but one that impacts upon sufferers their whole lives.
The 30-year-old, of Neville Road, explained: “It was awful. I developed these horrific stomach cramps; the pain was excruciating. I ended up in bed for the whole of the holiday and my family wanted me to go to hospital, but I thought it might be something that would pass.”
When he came home, Nathan was admitted to Warrington Hospital where he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease – a chronic condition that causes painful inflammation of the digestive system or gut. 
Nathan said: “I’d never heard of it before and it’s taken time to learn how to manage and live with it.”
While the cause is still unknown Crohn’s disease affects around 115,000 people in the UK and although it isn’t curable, it can be managed through diet, medication and sometimes surgery. 
Symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhoea, tiredness and fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss plus anaemia.
Nathan said: “At first I didn’t know much about it at all. There wasn’t much information available at my point of diagnosis.”
Which is why the dad-of-two has signed up to run the 2020 London Marathon in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK. 
He explained: “I had to do a lot of my own research to find out how to manage my condition and Crohn’s and Colitis UK were very helpful. 
“At one point I let it stop me from doing a lot of things. I found it difficult to leave the house because I didn’t know how and when it would affect. 
“But as I’ve learned to listen to my body it’s become easier to manage and I don’t want to let this hold me back.
“I’m doing the marathon to push myself and the training is quite therapeutic. 
“When I’m running, I don’t think about anything other than where I’m going and how I’m getting there. It stops me focussing on the pain. It’s actually quite mindful.”
In preparation for the April 19 event Nathan is currently running 40k a week and his wife Kate, 30, and two sons Alfie, 10, and Elliott, seven, often join him on his training sessions. 
But he has a little way to go to hit his £2,500 fundraising target which is why he’s set up a Just Giving page to help him reach his goal.
He said: “It’s not only a personal goal. I want to help other people in my position to get more support from this charity which has helped me. Crohn’s and colitis are awful conditions but with help, support and research we can learn to live with them.”
n To support Nathan’s marathon mission, you can donate at justgiving.com/fundraising/nathan-hughes12