Monday 21 January 2019

'Magic won't cure me' - TV magician Dynamo opens up about his battle with Crohn's Disease

Magician Dynamo
Magician Dynamo

Sasha Brady

TV Magician Dynamo has spoken out about his battle with Crohn's Disease.

Steven Frayne, known as Dynamo, was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when he was 13-years-old - a condition causing inflammation to the stomach lining and leaves the street magician in constant pain.

The magician, who has entertained famous people from Jay Z to Prince Charles, had to have half his stomach removed following a burst abscess three years after he was diagnosed with the disease.

Following a life-saving operation as a teenager, the illusionist controls the incurable illness through diet and meditation.

Dynamo on stage. Facebook
Dynamo on stage. Facebook

He told the Mirror that he is now facing the prospect of wearing a colostomy bag.

“Having Crohn's is a trial but I am determined not to let it hold me back.

“If you’ve got Crohn’s then you just have to get on with it, deal with the negative things that come with it, and not let it change the happiness in your life. You can’t help it; it’s what it is.

“It’s more about affecting the comfort levels of your life. It can be incredibly restrictive, and I know some people with it who can’t even leave the house. And that is so sad.”

Dynamo with his grandmother. Facebook
Dynamo with his grandmother. Facebook

The magician said that at one point in his teenage years he was advised that he may need a colostomy bag and it was only by luck that he didn't.

He said: “One option is a colostomy bag but for many people it doesn’t seem like the nicest of ideas.

"There was a time my life when I had to have an operation and I nearly died in hospital, and one of the options was to give me a colostomy bag. I was only 18 and at that age it would have been awful, I couldn’t have got my head space around it, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

“Whereas now if it has to happen, it has to happen.

Dynamo and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Facebook
Dynamo and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Facebook

“And I might well need a bag one day.

Dynamo's grandmother who also suffered from the often-hereditary disease was fitted with a colostomy bag.

“My grandma’s got one and she’s the coolest person on the planet. It doesn’t affect the person, it just affects their life. I’m fine with it.”

The magician, who's an ambassador for Ray of Sunshine - a charity that grants wishes to seriously ill children - also supports last year's campaign to take away the stigma of colostomy bags.

Dynamo and TV presenter Alexa Chung
Dynamo and TV presenter Alexa Chung

The campaign featured girls in bikinis proudly displaying colostomy bags.

"At the end of the day, the only reason people feel embarrassed is because society tells them ‘this is cool and that isn’t cool’", he told the Mirror.

“But the minute people start just living, start being themselves and acknowledging that we all have problems, we all have difficulties, but this is what makes us so special. If well all conformed to the same thing, then life would be boring.

“If anything, I’m hoping that what I’m doing – going out and performing – will inspire people with the disease to go out and achieve their dreams too.”

Dyanmo is currently on tour in the UK and Ireland and his interactive Seeing Is Believing shows will finish up in Dublin in March.

He admits that touring has taken its toll on his wellbeing.

The magician performs one of his illusions. Facebook
The magician performs one of his illusions. Facebook

“I am absolutely loving the whole tour experience as it’s all new," he told the paper.

“But doing two hour shows means I am exerting so much energy and, for that, I need to fuel my body fuel to keep it going night after night.

“Basically I have to make sure I eat at least four hours before the show because any nearer it is highly likely I will need to go to the bathroom when I’m supposed to be on stage.

“And, obviously, going to the toilet sometimes can be quite an uncomfortable situation so I’ve had to restructure all my meal times which has been a bit of a pain.

“But I live with it, and there are ways of dealing with it, and although it’s been especially tricky on the tour, I am managing it.”

Crohn’s affects different people in different ways. It causes the sufferer difficulty in digesting food, and can also lead to fatigue, diarrhoea and anaemia. It can develop at any time, although most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30.

Nearly 75 per cent of people with the disease require surgery but there is no cure and current treatment involves reducing inflammation and treating other symptoms.

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