The discomfort of a friend with a chronic health condition has inspired city youngsters to get on their dancing shoes and show their support.

Charlotte Levett was diagnosed back in 2018 with ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The third-year psychology student at the University of East Anglia is part of the UEA's dance squad, acting as social secretary and hip-hop competition choreographer.

In support of her condition, her team-mates completed a 12-hour charity dance-a-thon to raise awareness and funds for Crohn’s & Colitis UK. 

Charlotte said: “It’s been amazing having the dance squad behind me. When I was first diagnosed my symptoms were misunderstood, and now everyone is much more mindful about the condition and its effects on me.

“The dance-a-thon has also allowed other club members to speak up about their experiences with IBD and their own family members. It spreads the message about IBD further.

“A massive thank you to the dance squad committee and the president, Caitlin, for organising it and making it a success. I hope this event can grow and be successful for many years to come.”

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Norwich Evening News: Charlotte Levett at the UEA dance-a-thon Charlotte Levett at the UEA dance-a-thon (Image: Caitlin Telford)

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Since the dance-a-thon, on May 17, more than £750 has been raised through a combination of ticket sales and donations.

It also gave the dance squad the chance to show their talent and perseverance across 12 hours of non-stop classes. 

The squad held one every hour in a variety of dance styles, ranging from hip-hop, ballet, musical theatre and Irish dancing.

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The president of the club, Caitlin Telford, said: “Our dance-a-thon was open to everyone on campus, and it was so nice to see members from other UEA sport clubs attending our 
classes throughout the day.

"The charity is very close to us here at UEA dance squad. We worked so hard with the charity to put on such a fun day.”

What is Crohn's disease?

An estimated 500,000 people in the UK live with Crohn’s disease or colitis, the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease, with people being diagnosed every day.

It is usually caused when the immune system attacks the bowels, which causes the 

Despite treatments being available, these conditions are lifelong and can 
cause pain, discomfort and other life-changing symptoms.

Many with the disease make changes to their diets or take supplements to ensure they get enough nutrients.