"Game of Crohn’s" by Grant Bones

"Game of Crohn’s" by Grant Bones, Treasury Assistant

"Game of Crohn’s" by Grant Bones

Treasury Assistant

"I like to think of my life as one big episode of Game of Thrones, but the only enemies are Crohn’s Disease and boredom. I hate being bored. Growing up in Manchester, my life was ordinary - that was until I was 16 and fell seriously ill. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease soon after. The next few years became really challenging as I tried to maintain a normal life. However, nothing that happens in life affects me or drags me down. I see it as just another challenge or obstacle and I overcome it. I had an Ileostomy, which, thankfully, alleviated all the symptoms I’d been struggling with for years. A big moment for me was when I did a parachute jump. I never thought my health would allow it. But, I did it. It was one of the most terrifying and rewarding moments in my life. My ambition currently is to enjoy myself as much as I can and start my journey towards a successful and fulfilling career."

Chapter 1: The wars to come

Growing up in Manchester, my life was ordinary - that was until I was 16 and fell seriously ill. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease soon after. The next few years became really challenging as I tried to maintain a normal life. I forced myself to go to college but failed the first year due to missing a large chunk because I was sick. I went back to redo it and left college two years later with a couple of A-levels. I decided I didn’t want to go to university as the level of commitment was too high. I took a job working at Next, the clothing store. I worked there on and off over the next few years when I was well enough. When I was 22, I started my first job in finance and stayed for nearly two years before having to leave due to ill health. Shortly after I rushed myself back into work in another finance role before having to leave after six months, again, due to ill health.

I spent the next eight months battling with my Crohn’s until I had my last major surgery in 2017. I had an Ileostomy which, thankfully, alleviated all the symptoms that I’d been struggling with for years. I spent the next year recovering from surgery and piecing my life back together before I decided I was ready to get back to work. That’s when I started with Grant Thornton in 2018 and I’ve been happy and healthy so far.

'Working for an inclusive employer has also been important for me as I’ve been made to feel welcome since starting.'

Chapter 2: You win or you die

I like to think of my life as one big episode of Game of Thrones, but the only enemies are Crohn’s Disease and boredom. I hate being bored. I’m mainly driven to do things just to avoid or alleviate boredom. I do whatever I can to fill up my time. That mainly involves learning something new, doing something new or going somewhere new.

A big moment for me was when I did a parachute jump. I never thought my health would allow it. But, I did it. I was afraid heights, but my friend was looking for people to help raise money for a children’s hospice, so I volunteered anyway. I ended up raising £300 and got over my fear of heights in one go. I still don’t know if I would ever do it again. My friend told me I was very talkative the entire day, then went completely silent as soon as the plane passed 5,000 feet. It was one of the most terrifying and rewarding moments in my life. Another moment I’m proud of is when I raised £700 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. A group of friends and I took part in the Manchester walkIT. We’re doing that again this year too!

Chapter 3: The climb

I couldn’t fight this battle alone. My family are the most important people in my life. I don’t know who I’d be if it wasn’t for their constant love and support, particularly at times when I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. Also, I have a really close small group of friends that I talk to pretty much every day. They help keep me grounded and taught me not to take life or myself too seriously.

Working for an inclusive employer has also been important for me as I’ve been made to feel welcome since starting. I feel like the people I work with care about me and my wellbeing. I’m not afraid of being judged or penalised if I ever had an illness related emergency or needed to come in later than usual due to medical appointments.

My ambition currently is to enjoy myself as much as I can and start my journey towards a successful and fulfilling career. I let everything wash off me. Nothing that happens in life affects me or drags me down. I see it as just another challenge or obstacle and I overcome it.

Grant's story is part of our 'Stories of our diverse workforce' campaign we've asked our people to open up and share their own personal story. To read more stories, follow the link below