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Give to Make an impact in the ostomy community

 

Your support makes a difference in so many lives. People often turn to UOAA in times of concern and uncertainty. UOAA’s staff and volunteers provide assistance every day to people across the country who are seeking knowledge, resources and support as they navigate their way through living with an ostomy. Your donation to our mid-year campaign will ensure UOAA will continue to be a trusted resource for caregivers, family members and medical professionals. Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $110,000 this year.

“Thank you for all your support. Probably without my local support group and UOAA, I seriously doubt I would have been aware of a WOC nurse or a method to receive the medical treatment I thought was necessary. Now…I will be able to live a healthier, productive life.” J. R.

General Fund

Support UOAA as we continue to create and share our educational materials, connect people to affiliated support groups, maintain our informative website and engage with medical professionals who care for the ostomy community.

“I appreciate the support of UOAA. We use the website in the clinic as our major resource and the booklets are great for the staff in-services. I have given copies to the medical students when I give the ostomy lecture during their trauma rotation as well…” C. C.

Advocacy Fund 

Your financial contribution will help engage UOAA and its Advocacy Network (over 650 supporters) in legislative advocacy efforts.

“Just want to tell you what a wonderful advocacy tool you have provided to ostomates and affiliated support groups around the country…I can appreciate how the product of your work will encourage individuals and groups to move ahead with advocacy.” P. M.

Ostomy Awareness Fund 

Assist UOAA in dispelling the fear of undergoing this life-saving and life-restoring surgery. Attendees of our biennial conference (join us August 6-10, 2019 in Philadelphia) have the opportunity to learn from top medical professionals, network with fellow ostomates and share their life experiences.

“Keep up the good work! I have had an ileostomy since 2002…I am retired and now perform at festivals and enjoy life! Life begins at whatever age you shake off your fears and decide to fulfill your reason for being!” K. T. H.

With your donation we can empower people living with an ostomy or continent diversion, promote quality of life, and continue our work to erase the myths and stigma surrounding this life-saving surgery. Together we can change lives.

Sincerely,

Susan Burns
UOAA President

Click here to donate today or learn more. United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible.  UOAA has a GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency.

The Benefits of Giving Back In Spite of Your Health Challenges

By Lynn Wolfson

We all want to feel like valuable members of our community. However, many times we are held back by personal issues, lack of time or just a complete lack of knowledge on how to contribute to help others. For those who have not had the experience, they do not know the emotional elation that one gets by helping others.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I was born with a genetic disease that prevents my digestive track from functioning as it should. Consequently, I am fed through my heart (Total Parental Nutrition), I defecate into a pouch attached to my abdomen and I catheterize to urinate four times a day. All of this medical equipment did take me years to accept and learn to take care of on my own. However, once I learned, accepted and had my independence back, I wanted to give back to my community.

I started by participating in my local UOAA affiliated ostomy support group. I attended national ostomy conferences and met many people who also had ostomies. I then joined the Digestive Disease National Coalition in Washington, DC and learned how to lobby for Bills which are needed for the digestive disease community on Capitol Hill. There I met many people active in the digestive disease community and joined The Oley Foundation.

Lynn Wolfson is assisted by her service dog Zev as she travels for advocacy and conferences around the country. Lynn has battled Hirshprung’s disease since childhood.

After several years of attending national conferences with the United Ostomy Associations of America, The Oley Foundation, and The Digestive Disease National Coalition, I decided to create my own support group. I named it: The Weston Ostomy Tube Feeding Group. The group meets monthly from August to May and discusses many important issues regarding people with ostomies and enteral/parental patients.

Then I decided I wanted to help my local community. I started going to the Jewish Community Center and learning how to knit hats for cancer patients. I had not knitted since I was a little girl. I was not too optimistic since I have tremors. However, the ladies in the group taught me how to knit on a loom. I now make beautiful hats which I donate weekly to cancer patients. I was really feeling proud of myself.

One week there was a senior fair in the ballroom at the JCC while I was in my knitting group. I took a break from my knitting to go and check out the senior fair. While walking around the fair, I saw “Jet Express” and I stopped and asked about it. I was told that this was a service which the Goodman Jewish Family Services provided to seniors for $100 a year. The service is to pick up seniors and to bring them to medical appointments, shopping or social engagements. They needed volunteers to pick up these seniors. This sounded like fun to me. I called up Pam at Jet Express and signed up.

Since signing up, I have enjoyed taking seniors to medical appointments, the beauty salon, shopping or just spending the afternoon with a senior going wherever they would like. I find the seniors so interesting. I have one senior that has lived in Florida since the 1950s and she tells me what South Florida was like when she first came. Some seniors are here alone. Their children live out of state and they are lonely. I have one senior who I take out to lunch weekly. I find I learn so much from these seniors and I bring them home so happy. As happy as they feel, I always feel happier that I could do this for them.

Left, UOAA Advocacy Manager Jeanine Gleba with ,right, Lynn Wolfson taking part in the DDNC Day on Capitol Hill.

I then found out about The Cupboard – the kosher pantry which services individuals or families who cannot afford groceries, and Holocaust Survivors. The Cupboard is also part of the Goodman Jewish Family Services. I go to the Cupboard weekly to take grocery orders from the clients and help deliver the groceries. Since I cannot carry due to my medical equipment, I have a partner who can carry the groceries when I am delivering. I do the driving. Again, I really enjoy meeting and talking with all the clients. They are so appreciative of everything we do for them!

Many of the clients who are having a difficult time, emotionally, physically or financially are so elated when they see us, as they know they are not alone. I know for myself, that each one of us was given a “deck of cards” on life and there is no one that has received a perfect deck. We all have “rotten” cards. Those people that can overcome these “rotten cards” will be the most successful and happiest. However, as humans, we all need a hand in helping us to overcome our individual challenges.

Once we can master our personal challenges, there is no greater joy than giving back to others. Helping others helps each of us to love life even more and appreciate our individual gifts. Life is a matter of attitude. Those with a positive attitude can not only overcome their own challenges but also help others do the same.