Swimmers break ‘poo taboo’ for Colostomy Day
- Credit: Archant
Triathlete, Caroline, aims to raise awareness of challenges faced by people with stomas
Swimmers took to a Sidmouth pool to help break the ‘poo taboo’ and raise awareness of Colostomy Day.
Triathlete Caroline Bramwell organised the event in a bid to highlight challenges faced by people living with a stoma who, she says, often feel they have to give up sports and activities following surgery.
A stoma is an opening made on the side of the abdomen through which bodily waste can pass into a ‘bag for life’ that sits externally.
Mum-of-two Caroline, from Ilfracombe, had life-saving surgery after living with a debilitating illness, ulcerative colitis, for five years. She said the event held at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel aimed to prove ‘there is nothing to be ashamed of’.
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Caroline, 50, added: “Events being held around Colostomy Day (on October 1) have been a great way to raise awareness of a subject that is traditionally thought of as ‘taboo’. Many people need an ostomy as life-saving surgery and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I was so ill I couldn’t even play with my two young children. Surgery is the start of a whole new chapter for those who are struggling with conditions affecting their bowel, bladder or intestines. And it’s not just affecting the older generation - many children and teenagers have to live with a stoma too.
“I invited ostomates to join me in the pool at Sidmouth Harbour Hotel to help their confidence. With a ‘bag for life’, I often hear people have given up sports and activities that they once enjoyed because they either don’t think they can any more, or are concerned about the bag or getting a hernia. Our swim confidence event was a relaxed informal meeting, so ostomates don’t feel alone.”
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The self-confessed former ‘couch potato’ took up cycling to get fit after surgery and rode from London to Paris in just 24 hours, a year after her operation – she competes in triathlons and is training to be an ironman despite only learning to swim two years ago.