Saleem Juma was 14 when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a variation of Crohn’s Disease. Now 24, he’s lost 4.5 of his digestive organs to the aggressive condition, in combination with volvulus (intestinal twisting and necrosis of the bowel). He’s been hospitalised 60+ times and survived several surgeries, but continues to hold down work as a model, reality TV show co-producer, and blogger. Did we mention he also nabbed the Mr Washington State title for 2017? Here Saleem talks Sarah through his story, and what it’s like to live with a largely hidden disability.
Stephen Gibbs had a stroke two years ago, and developed aphasia as a result. The neurological condition affects a person’s ability to communicate, and left the Wellingtonian essentially mute. A musician and music teacher – amongst other things – by trade, Stephen turned to music therapy and writing as part of his recovery. Doing so has made a big impact on his capacity to communicate and create, and he is now also the Wellington Community Aphasia Advisor for Aphasia NZ.