Dear Supporters! There are some very exciting updates to Nicole' s petition. First, and most important, the House Select Committee contacted Nicole within the past week to arrange a date for a face-to-face hearing. This is a major step to her petition actually becoming a bill and, hopefully, a law. The bill's sponsor, the Rt. Hon.Trevor Mallard, is now Speaker of the House and recently hosted a Parliamentary Breakfast to present a report on the Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease on NZ. Finally, as you probably know, this law in the States is known as "Ally's Law". It is named for Allyson Baine who, when she was fourteen years old had an accident in a mall in Chicago after being refused access to a toilet. Ally fought for and was successful in getting the first law for toilet access in the States. Ally, now a lawyer, has contacted Nicole and offered to lend her support and is considering coming to New Zealand to work with Nicole. Again, thank you to all our supporters!
To: House of Representatives
Camp Purple Toilet Access Initiative
That the House pass legislation to ensure that, if a retail establishment does not have public restrooms, those who have medical conditions that require immediate toilet access such as Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, pregnancy, or an ostomy bag, must be allowed access to employee restrooms.”
Why is this important?
From 13 to 17 January, 57 children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, chronic autoimmune diseases of the digestive tract, attended Camp Purple Live at El Rancho Camp in Waikanae. The camp was organised by Crohns and Colitis NZ Charitable Trust, a whose mission is to support those with Crohns Disease and ulcerative colitis.
There is no cure for these diseases which usually require potent chronic immunosuppressive medications and often multiple surgeries. NZ has one of the highest rates of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis in the world and they are diseases that often strike in childhood, causing symptoms that no one likes to talk about: abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding. Imagine being on a school trip and having to stop five times to have an urgent bowel motion. Imagine pleading to use the employee restroom in a shop and having to explain why. Imagine being told that you will need to search for a public rest room somewhere else. Imagine being 12 years old and having an accident in the middle of the city.
On the second day of camp the children visited Parliament in downtown Wellington. Many had to stop along the way to use the restroom.
On their tour they asked the tour guide how to go about getting the House of Representatives to enact a law similar to one known as “Ally’s Law” in the United States. Ally’s Law is named after Ally Bain, a 14 year old girl with Crohn’s disease. Ally was denied access to the employee toilet by a store manager in Chicago, resulting in an embarrassing public accident. Ally fought for a law in the State of Illinois and was successful. Ally’s law guarantees access to employee toilets to people whose conditions require the urgent use of a toilet such as Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, and those with ostomy bags. There are now similar laws in 15 other States.
Coincidentally, the Parliament tour guide had Crohn’s Disease himself. He explained to the children the legislative process. Immediately on her return to camp, with the help of one of the volunteers, Nicole Thornton, a 12 year old girl with Crohn’s disease wrote a petition. It requests that the House of Representatives enact a law similar to Ally’s Law in NZ. It was signed by all 57 campers, along with 30 of the camp volunteers, including three doctors and four nurses. MP Trevor Mallard had agreed to table the petition in Parliament.
How it will be delivered
The petition will be presented to MP Trevor Mallard on the steps of Parliament on Tuesday, 31 January at 11am. Your attendance and support would be appreciated.