By Ed Pfueller, UOAA Communications and Outreach Manager
The ostomy community is a big group with diverse medical backgrounds, ages, and attitudes about living with an ostomy. One thing almost everyone can agree on is that ostomy and continent diversion surgery saves lives. We all hope for a day when no one who has an ostomy feels alone in life. Ostomy Awareness Day is Saturday, October 1, 2022 and however you are most comfortable participating – you can have an impact. Your voice matters and now is the time to use it or support others who do.
If You’re Supportive but Busy
A couple of clicks is all it takes to put a smile on the face of a resilient ostomate or dedicated ostomy nurse. Check out the heartwarming stories of those on the Run for Resilience fundraising pages. Many of them still need a donation. The Ostomy 5k is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the programs and services offered by UOAA, a national 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. We have not met the Virtual Ostomy 5k fundraising goal of $25,000. Donating to UOAA, whenever you have the means, helps to sustain our small but powerful national ostomy organization’s work to improve the quality of life for people living with an ostomy, all year long.
If You’re Active on Social Media
Great, stop scrolling and go share your #OstomiesAreLifesavers story today! Even if you have never talked about it publicly before, consider letting your social networks know the things you have been able to do and witness in life after surgery. Help dispel stigmas and fear surrounding ostomy surgery, you never know which of your connections may have an ostomy or be faced with surgery someday. Post a photo, video or story and tag or DM @UOAA and use the hashtag #OstomiesAreLifesavers and #OstomyDay2022
Another quick and easy way to share your ostomy story is to complete the This or That Ostomy Edition, tag uoaa and post it to your stories.
If You’d Rather Work Behind the Scenes
You don’t have to post ostomy bikini pics to be an effective advocate. Anyone can call or send our action alerts to their elected officials. The U.S. Congress has designated official days for mountain biking and cowboys but not for Ostomy Awareness. This is because of a lack of congressional co-sponsors. Congressman Donald Payne (NJ) is introducing a Congressional House Resolution designating October 1, 2022 as National Ostomy Awareness Day and needs co-sponsors and/or support for this resolution. Contact your Congressperson and ask them to become a cosponsor, by contacting Shahryar M. Baig on his staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can take action here on all of our advocacy campaigns.
If You Just Want to Have Some Fun While Raising Awareness
Consider printing out our Ostomy Pouch Character name it, and take pics of it wherever you go Flat Stanley style; send us your pics or post on social media. To make it even easier use our Giphy stickers found here (or search @UOAA_Ostomy)
You can still register for an in-person Run for Resilience Event near you on Saturday (Birmingham is Oct. 8) and join what is often a party atmosphere of music, sponsor tables, food and games – in addition to walking/running.
Also be sure to wear a stoma sticker from Hollister, the Exclusive Diamond Sponsor of UOAA’s Run for Resilience. Check out all the ways you can celebrate with Hollister.
If You Want to Get More Educated or Educate Others
If you want to get some WOC Nurse level information you’re in luck on October 1st. The WOCN Society is offering an education day event open to everyone free of charge.
For a more Ostomy 101 level of learning use our advocacy tools and infographics as a handout or post online. Feel free to use any of our materials on emotional support, ostomy myths, j-pouches or more.
The day after Ostomy Awareness Day you can also learn more about ostomies and mental health during a Facebook live event hosted by Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation in partnership with UOAA.
If You Want to Keep the Awareness Going All Month/Year Long
Here at UOAA we work on National Advocacy all year long. Sign-up for our advocacy action alerts and Monthly E-Newsletter. There is power in numbers, become a national individual member and be counted as an official member of UOAA’s ostomy community. You’ll also get a membership and stoma pin and among other benefits.
New this year, Convatec is planning “Ostober” to focus on ostomy awareness all month long. They are the Platinum Sponsor of our Run for Resilience Ostomy 5k and we’re thrilled to see them keeping the spirit alive all month long.
Visit our Ostomy Awareness Day landing page for more information this special day. Whatever you choose to do please let us know! If you have pictures, proclamations or stories to share send them to us at email@example.com and don’t forget #OstomiesAreLifesavers