Press Release


 Ostomies Are Life-Savers

By Susan Burns, President, United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA)

Imagine choosing death over a life-saving surgery? The acceptance of living a life with an ostomy is still too often met with a feeling of hopelessness by prospective patients. It made international news recently when a young man in intensive care in the UK was granted the right to die based on his past struggles living with a temporary ostomy.

In my ostomy support group here in St. Louis a person once chose a similar dark fate by choosing to stop eating. I am happy to be alive today and to live a healthy and productive life after having ostomy surgery as a young mother in the 1980s as a result of IBD, specifically (ulcerative colitis).

The 725,000 to 1 million people living with an ostomy or continent diversion in the United States, represented by United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA), also know that “Ostomies are Life-savers.” With proper medical care and emotional support, there is nothing most people living with an ostomy are not capable of doing. We’re people of all ages who have survived colon, bladder and other cancers, war injuries and trauma, birth defects, and a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Because of ostomy surgery; we find love, swim, work, dance, climb mountains and simply live our lives.

We need your help to eliminate the stigma of living with an ostomy. Join me in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Ostomy Awareness Day on October 3, 2020, as we shout the message that “Ostomies are Life-savers.” On social media using #OstomiesAreLifesavers you’ll see supporters shining a positive light on this surgery and all across the country people will be smashing stigmas during the 7th Annual Run for Resilience Virtual Ostomy 5k.

Encourage someone in need to connect to our over 330 local support groups around the U.S. and visit to learn more so nobody ever feels a lack of hope again. Together we can save lives.

The Run for Resilience Ostomy 5k is supported by Exclusive Diamond Sponsor Hollister with additional support from Coloplast, Byram, ConvaTec, Safe n Simple and Kem Enterprises.

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