By Jeanine Gleba and Ed Pfueller, UOAA
Do you prefer to work behind the scenes for change? Are you crafty and creative? Do you like to share on social media? No matter how you want to do it, UOAA encourages everyone in the ostomy community to do one little thing to raise awareness and smash stigmas this upcoming National Ostomy Awareness Day on Saturday, October 7, 2023.
One option is to just do something to celebrate having your life back after this lifesaving and life restoring surgery! You are living proof that ostomies are lifesavers and that’s something to shout from the rooftops. With close to one million people living with an ostomy or continent diversion in America, we could really make some noise!
If you find yourself asking, “Well what can I do?”, check out the clever ideas below that people have shared with us and things that people have already started doing for #OstomyDay2023:
- Bake it or order it. One nurse gets custom cookies made to share at her local ostomy awareness day event. Yum!
- Are you crafty? Another advocate turned his collection of t-shirts (from the annual 5k event) into a quilt!
Social Media Awareness
- Share Your Ostomies Are Life-Savers story. People have started sharing their personal stories about how having an ostomy has saved or changed their life with friends on social media. You can use our Instagram and TikTok video green screen as a background (found here) or simply print out this sign and take a selfie! Be sure to tag UOAA and use hashtag #OstomiesAreLifesavers #IAmLivingProof and #OstomyDay2023.
- Social Stickers. Grab some attention for awareness with our “giphy stickers” or use the latest profile photo frame. Better still get some real stickers made and you can put them on water bottles, laptops, cell phones and more to raise awareness all year long!
On the Scene or Behind the Scenes For Awareness
- Mascots for Awareness. WOC nurse Linda Coulter has taken to getting every mascot she encounters to help spread ostomy awareness at sports venues and beyond. Online she shares all the fun #Mascots4ostomyAwareness photos. Also out and about is our friends @DoubleBagginit that spread ostomy awareness wherever they go with their clever #ostomybombs.
- Walk or even sleep in for Ostomy Awareness. Those not near a Run for Resilience event or who more are more inclined to sleep in can still donate to the cause while others often do an informal walk or even ride their horse as part of the Virtual Ostomy 5k.
- Light up Your State Capitol. An advocate in Pennsylvania has worked with her elected official and the capitol building in Harrisburg, PA will be lit blue and green (UOAA official colors) recognizing Ostomy Awareness Day on October 7th between 6:30PM – Midnight EST! As this advocate wrote “Amazing what can happen when we open the dialogue!” The Capitol Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana will also be lit to celebrate the day so inquire with your state!
- Virtual Race Car. Someone else participates in the iRacing community. He painted his virtual racing car to raise ostomy awareness. Check out photos and story here.
- Public Displays. In past years, nurses and others have done ostomy awareness displays at local hospitals or libraries or have hosted picnics with their support groups.
Give it some thought. You might come up with your own unique idea! If you do, we’d love to hear them, so send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep checking our webpage for all of the fun events that will be happening like UOAA’s Virtual Happy Hour on October 7th and other ways that you can raise awareness!