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Strictly’s JJ Chalmers praises pro Amy Dowden amid her Crohn’s disease diagnosis

Strictly Come Dancing‘s JJ Chalmers paid a touching tribute to his professional partner Amy Dowden after they were eliminated from the show on Sunday.

The presenter, 33, praised Amy for ‘never letting him down’ despite her daily battle with Crohn’s disease, admitting she ‘could wake up any day and be hospitalised’ due to the condition.

JJ and Amy were voted off Strictly 2020 after missing out on a place in the semi-finals, as the judges voted to save Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer following a tense dance-off.

Sweet: Strictly’s JJ Chalmers paid tribute to his pro partner Amy Dowden for ‘never letting him down’ despite her battle with Crohn’s disease as they were voted off the show on Sunday

Speaking after their elimination, JJ referenced Amy’s ongoing battle with Crohn’s, after the dancer previously admitted she ‘lives in fear’ it could end her career.

He said: ‘She’s lived through so much in her own right in fairness.

‘I know that any day she can wake up and she could be hospitalised essentially so she lives fearing she’ll let people down. But the way you’ve built me up, you could never let me down.’

An emotional Amy added: ‘Aw JJ it has been an absolute honour to be your partner and most importantly friend, throughout your Strictly experience. He is, and everybody would agree, one of the world’s most truest gentlemen. 

Sweet: The presenter praised Amy for supporting him throughout their Strictly journey despite fearing she could be 'hospitalised any day' due to the condition

Sweet: The presenter praised Amy for supporting him throughout their Strictly journey despite fearing she could be ‘hospitalised any day’ due to the condition 

‘I honestly believe from working with JJ over the last few months I’ve become a better person and I’ve learned so much. 

‘The way he faces challenges with such strength and determination, you have helped me for the rest of my life on how to face my own personal challenges. And honestly I’m so proud of every single step you’ve performed on this floor, I just had the best time. 

‘I didn’t think I could possibly fall in love with Strictly any more and this year my heart is just beaming full of Strictly and that’s down to absolutely everybody and I love you all.’

Bottom two: JJ and Amy were voted off Strictly 2020 after missing out on a place in the semi-finals, as the judges voted to save Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer following a tense dance-off

Bottom two: JJ and Amy were voted off Strictly 2020 after missing out on a place in the semi-finals, as the judges voted to save Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer following a tense dance-off

In October Amy candidly discussed her ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease in the BBC film in Strictly Amy: Crohn’s And Me.

She said: ‘Strictly has been more than a dance show to me, it got me through the darkest times of my illness. For me it was a big inspiration to keep me dancing.

‘Dancing has pulled me through my Crohn’s but it’s a battle. I live in fear that what I love the most could be taken away. And I’ve been more ill this year than I have been in a long time.’  

The Welsh beauty, who made it to the Strictly final last year with Karim Zeroual, went into detail about her living with the long-term condition, which causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. 

Opening up: In October Amy discussed her battle with Crohn's disease in a BBC documentary, admitting she 'lives in fear' it could end her dance career

Opening up: In October Amy discussed her battle with Crohn’s disease in a BBC documentary, admitting she ‘lives in fear’ it could end her dance career

She filmed her hospitalisation with the illness this spring, which occurred at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and came months before the new Strictly series.

In heartbreaking scenes, she is seen vomiting and passing out after finishing up work on the most recent Strictly tour; she was subsequently rushed to hospital. 

Amy – who was first experienced symptoms at 11, eight years before she was diagnosed at the age of 19 – said that it showed the stark contrast between her glamorous TV appearances and her real life.

Battle: She filmed her hospitalisation with the illness this spring, which occurred at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and came months before the new Strictly series

Battle: She filmed her hospitalisation with the illness this spring, which occurred at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown and came months before the new Strictly series

Plans: Her Crohn's flair up, as well as the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, scuppered her plans to tie the knot with her fiancé and dance partner Ben Jones. Pictured together in 2018

Plans: Her Crohn’s flair up, as well as the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, scuppered her plans to tie the knot with her fiancé and dance partner Ben Jones. Pictured together in 2018

She said: ‘To the public watching me with all our make-up, fake tan, glitz, glamour and spotlights, it’s a different world. I don’t think they could ever imagine this could be me the next day.

‘I knew things weren’t right but your body goes: “Right you’ve got to get through this, you don’t want to let anyone down, you can do this.” And you can just push yourself through anything.’

Amy, who joined Strictly in 2017, admitted that she celebrated once she was finally diagnosed with the disease, as it meant that she could seek the correct treatment.

For support with the disease contact Crohn’s and Colitis UK charity on 0300 222 5700 or visit www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk 

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.

Inflammation most commonly occurs in the last section of the small or large intestine but it can affect any part of the digestive system. 

Common symptoms can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • unintended weight loss
  • blood and mucus in your faeces (stools)

Remission occurs when people with the disease go long periods of time without symptoms however these periods can be followed by flare ups of symptoms.  

Why it happens

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, research suggests a combination of factors may be responsible. These include:

genetics – genes you inherit from your parents may increase your risk of developing Crohn’s disease

the immune system – the inflammation may be caused by a problem with the immune system that causes it to attack healthy bacteria in the gut

previous infection – a previous infection may trigger an abnormal response from the immune system

smoking – smokers with Crohn’s disease usually have more severe symptoms than non-smokers

environmental factors – Crohn’s disease is most common in westernised countries such as the UK, and least common in poorer parts of the world such as Africa, which suggests the environment has a part to play 

Source: NHS 


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