Education for Every Ostomate
Ostomy Academy quarterly online educational seminar to bring trusted and comprehensive ostomy information to all members of the ostomy community. Top experts, medical professionals, and experienced ostomates will focus on a new series of quality of life topics in each presentation with special attention given to emotional well-being strategies.
Brenda Elsagher is an international speaker, author, comedian and has been living with an ostomy for 25 years. At 39 years old with 2 small children at home, a husband and a busy small business owner, she found out she had colorectal cancer. Brenda decided to go after two goals she had long put off: standup comedy and going to college. Winning a comedy contest at age 40, her career changed as she dealt with the effects of colorectal cancer and found that laughter helped her to cope with the new adjustments. Along the way, she found ways to educate others about a taboo subject using humor too. College helped her write her first book. Since then she has written 5 books and become a CHP, Certified Humor Professional through the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor. Brenda is UOAA volunteer serving as Director of Affiliated Support Group Affairs.
Steve Vandevender is a Director at Large for United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA). Steve is also the leader of the Peoria, Illinois Ostomy Support Group. Steve is retired from medical sales and brings years of experience in giving presentations, meeting management and volunteer leadership.
Molly Atwater is UOAA’s Director of Young Ostomate Outreach and Chair of UOAA’s Young Ostomate Outreach Committee. She underwent ileostomy surgery in June 2017 after more than twenty years of struggling with chronic constipation, a symptom of a genetic collagen disorder. As a member of the board, she advocates for ostomates ages 18-50 at the national level, frequently speaks to support groups about ostomy challenges unique to patients in early adulthood, and helps to plan the Young Adult Track of UOAA’s National Conference. Aside from her work with UOAA, she runs the social media account MollyOllyOstomy, found on Instagram and Facebook. Using her platform, she teaches more than twenty thousand followers about life with an ostomy and other chronic illnesses.
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