Celebrating Life-saving Ostomy Surgery for 10 Years!
“Ostomates Unite and Help Place The Ostomy In A Positive Light! Celebrate UOAA’s Ostomy Awareness Day!” These were the words that were spread across the country when United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) announced the first National Ostomy Awareness Day on July 25, 2010. This year marks a decade of shining a positive light on lifesaving ostomy surgery. UOAA continues to sponsor this day annually in the United States by raising ostomy awareness and increasing national visibility for those living with ostomies. Ostomy Awareness Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of October, which coincides with World Ostomy Day every 3 years. This year, National Ostomy Awareness Day will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020.
Awareness celebrations over the past 10 years have been created around several different themes including Bouncing Back into Life, Navigate the Journey Together, Speaking Out Changes Lives, and most recently Ostomies Are Life-Savers. UOAA also partners with like-minded patient organizations, such as the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and medical professional organizations, such as the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, with whom we co-host events such as Facebook Live events, Twitter chats, podcasts, and more to raise national awareness and remove stigma.
As in previous years, UOAA is also engaging the ostomy community in a number of ways and is excited to work with volunteers across the country to inspire, educate, and support people who have had or who may have ostomy or continent diversion surgery.
If you have never joined the annual movement to raise ostomy awareness, commemorating the 10th anniversary is the perfect opportunity. Here are 10 ways you can get involved.
1. Help shine a positive light on ostomy surgery and go “live” on your own at 7:00 PM EDT on October 3 with people all across the United States. Hit the “live” button on your personal social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok) and share why you are proud to help ostomy patients and how your work helps save and improve lives.
2. Support or join the 7th Annual Run for Resilience Ostomy 5k (Figure 1). In 2014 in Durham, NC, 2 certified ostomy nurses, Lara Leininger and Angela Richardson, started the very first Run for Resilience event. This year, our local Ostomy 5k events will be held virtually along with our annual worldwide virtual run/walk, so you can walk or run in your favorite place or at home. Create a team with your colleagues or patients and raise ostomy awareness and funds for a good cause together! People can register, get the special 10th anniversary T-shirt, or find out more about these events at www.ostomy5k.org.
3. Make a donation as a tribute to the 10th anniversary. Donate a minimum of $30 and receive a special bandana with the “Ostomies Are Life-Savers” logo.
4. Decorate a designated door in your health care facility for ostomy awareness day. Take it a step further and make it a contest. To participate each employee or team must pay a suggested donation for each door. The most creative door wins. Split the funds raised between UOAA and the winner!
5. Inspire others to raise awareness and spread the message that ostomies are life-savers using our infographic (Figure 2). We encourage you to print the infographic and share it in your health care facility.
6. UOAA’s “Operation Ostomy - A Life-Saver” campaign continues to spread the message that we are saving lives one ostomy at a time. Please use our 10th Anniversary Ostomy Awareness Day logo for your profile picture on your social media accounts. We know you throw that life-preserver to your patients all the time! Use the hashtags #OstomiesAreLifesavers or #OstomyDay2020 and tag UOAA on Facebook @uoaainc, Instagram @uoaa_, or Twitter @uoaa.
7. Consider starting a local UOAA-affiliated support group in your community to help ostomates on this journey or help erase fears and provide education for those considering ostomy surgery. We need more support groups to help the thousands of people across the country navigate living with an ostomy or continent diversion. Many of our support groups are led by nurses, too!
8. Wear an ostomy pouch for the day and walk in your patients’ shoes. Some medical professionals even fill it with chocolate pudding or lemonade to see what it’s really like to wear one!
9. Go on UOAA’s website at ostomy.org to become familiar with the information and resources that are available to medical professionals and their ostomy patients. Share the link whenever possible.
10. Participate with vendors and manufacturers of ostomy supplies, who also show their support through Ostomy Awareness Day campaigns.
All of the resources such as the infographic mentioned above and the most up-to-date information about this special day can be found at https://www.ostomy.org/ostomy-awareness-day/.
With your help, we will continue to break the silence and shine a positive light on what has saved so many lives.
UOAA would love to know how you celebrate! Share your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: UOAA does not endorse particular products, manufacturers, DME providers, or other sellers of ostomy products. This column was not subject to the Wound Management & Prevention peer-review process.