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September 30, 2016

Ostomy Day 2016 – How to Celebrate and Build Awareness

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Living with an Ostomy?

You are not alone. As a person living with an ostomy, you might sometimes feel that way, but it’s not true. It’s been estimated that there are more than 90,000 ostomates here in Canada, while south of the border that number is north of 1 million. You are not alone.

This October 1st, Canadians living with ostomies, together with their families and friends, will join in a show of support and awareness of their lifestyles and life stories. Will you be among them?

How to Celebrate Canada’s 4th Annual Ostomy Day: October 1, 2016

Join the Stoma Stroll Awareness Walk

This annual walk, organized by the Ostomy Canada Society (OSC), is taking place in as many as 14 different cities across our country, from Vancouver to St. John’s. Every year there’s a new theme – for 2016, it’s “We Walk Among You”. This theme speaks volumes about raising awareness as well as normalizing the lives of people who have ostomies.

There’s still time to register individually or to join a team. If you can’t find one in your area (check here), feel free to sign up in the “virtual walk” to raise funds while running on your treadmill or in your own neighborhood.  And if you aren’t able to walk, you’re welcome to donate, with proceeds going to the non-profit, volunteer-run OSC.

Raise Awareness in Your Community

One of the hardest parts about living with an ostomy can be the emotional part; the feeling of stigma or the fear of being ostracized. We are too often silenced by our embarrassment, which makes us feel even more alone.

This October 1st is a day in which you can join others who are speaking out. On that day, and leading up to that day, find creative ways to tell your ostomy story to others. Call in to a local radio station, submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or share an awareness raising message or selfie via your favorite social media network.

Being courageous in one or more of these ways helps to normalize “ostomate life” among the general public, and you just might encourage someone else out there who has been feeling alienated.

Support and Be Supported

One of the surest methods to get over the loneliness which some of us feel is to join a support group.  Here you can meet others who know your struggles intimately, and who can provide detailed advice and genuine encouragement.  You can search for a local group here. If you can’t (or perhaps don’t want to) find a group that is already meeting nearby, join one of the virtual groups listed, or take the bold step of starting your own group!  

So whether you’re currently experiencing loneliness as a result of your ostomy, or you’ve found ways to overcome those feelings, October 1st is a fantastic opportunity for you. Reach out and find support by joining a local Stoma Stroll or contacting a support group in your area. Offer support to others by telling your story using one of many readily available media channels. There is power and strength to be found in community (read our co-founder’s story). You are not alone!

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