By UOAA Advocacy Manager Jeanine Gleba

Today was so great!  So encouraging to see so many people pull together for a positive cause amidst such a tough year! So proud of our community!”  Keagan H. 

The 10th Anniversary celebration of Ostomy Awareness Day was one for the books! So many embraced the day and spread the important message that ostomies are lifesavers across the United States.

It’s fun to see how creative people can get from Miami Ostomy Aftercare’s celebration taking the theme to a whole other level, to clever memes and even wearing makeup and gear like eyeglasses in UOAA colors!

For the third year in a row, NJ Congressman Donald Payne introduced House Resolution 1176 designating October 3rd as National Ostomy Awareness Day. We are grateful to have a Congressional ostomy champion! 

Furthermore, UOAA was honored to work with this year’s Ostomy Champion beauty pageant winner Robin Brown – Mrs. Washington.  She kicked-off our commemorative 10th Anniversary “Shine a Positive Light – Go Live” event and inspired the community in this Facebook Live event. 

UOAA introduced new ways to get involved with this special day including producing an awareness infographic for the Operation Ostomy – A Lifesaver campaign that is available to download and print. Everyone can be a “UOAA Mythbuster” and fight stigma all year long. Some ostomates even made their own videos to smash stigma with these facts!

In addition, UOAA collaborated with other organizations and we had the privilege to raise ostomy awareness and engage the ostomy community during special events with these partners.  In case you missed them, we are pleased to inform you that you can still tune into them virtually:

  1. UOAA partnered with Byram Healthcare to bring 3 new educational sessions on the supply ordering process. You can view the presentations on our website such as “What to Expect from an Ostomy Medical Supplier” on this webpage.
  2. UOAA co-hosted a Facebook Live event with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation where UOAA representative Gina Day, CWON and IBD patient speakers Chealynn Feaster & Ryan Van Voorhis discussed all things ostomy. You can still watch it and be encouraged with their words of wisdom. 

Each year we expand our outreach with this annual event and here are a few impressive statistics from 2020 activities:

  • 30,846 people were reached by UOAA Facebook Posts in the days surrounding Ostomy Awareness Day and our hashtags #ostomday2020 and #ostomiesarelifesavers reported a potential reach of over 720,000 on Twitter and were used 744 times on public Instagram photos.
  • UOAA’s 2020 Run For Resilience Ostomy 5k virtual event had a record-breaking 1,263 registrants.

We were proud of our advocates who took action and many were met with successful outcomes receiving proclamations and “recognitions” from these states and cities: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Coral Gables, FL, Montgomery, OH, Elk Grove, CA, Warren, OH and Sacramento Commissioners Court House. UOAA Affiliated Support Group “Metro Maryland Ostomy Association” knocked it out of the park and received three proclamations from their state and local elected officials! 

UOAA is most grateful to all in the ostomy community who partnered with us or promoted OAD in their corner of the United States or worldwide on social media. A special thanks to our Run for Resilience sponsors Hollister, Coloplast, ConvaTec, Byram Healthcare, Safe n Simple and KEM Enterprises. 

Thank you to all who supported Ostomy Awareness Day. One by one, we calm fears, remove stigma and save lives.  Be sure to save the date for World Ostomy Day next year on October 2, 2021 for a worldwide movement to raise awareness!