Operation donation

February 14, 2012

Since resuming the ostomy supply donation drive several months ago after moving to Texas, it has had an overwhelming response. I spent a night this past week working on the supply inventory and was so thrilled by the wonderful outpouring of support from all of you that sent in your donations.

As most of you know, I have had numerous surgeries: two time temporary ostomate and now live with a permanent ostomy. When I had my first surgery it was around the time of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Feeling compelled to do something to help and unable to travel, the idea came to me to collect medical supplies, specifically ostomy supplies, as it most relates to me and my condition, but over the years, we have received supplies of all kinds–always new, always unused, and still packaged. In most cases, a temporary ostomate is no longer in need of their supplies after their takedown or reversal surgery, or donations come from someone who has changed ostomy supply brands. Often times, a family will donate in loving memory of a relative that has passed away. I have been touched by so many people who have shared their stories and their journeys with me. I feel humbled and honored to be able to facilitate this type of donation drive.

Back Up and Running Strong

The items are all sent to my location here in Texas, I collect all the items and keep a count and inventory of each item sent. I store all the items appropriately, and approximately once or twice a year I hand them off to a larger facility and into hands of those that can get the supplies to those in need. If you recall my last drop off with Kay Doherty in Green Bay she had informed me that they were in need of ostomy supplies in countries such as Haiti, Bulgaria, and Chile, just to name a few. The supplies go into the hands of people in need. It was such a good feeling to know that, and I was inspired to make sure to continue this once I moved here to Texas. It took a little bit of getting going and finding a place to move our supplies, but I recently found a facility in Houston which I will be blogging about at a future date. Later this month I have arranged a meeting with the director to tour the new facility and learn more about how our supplies will be sent abroad. I am excited for this to take place and that we are all a part of this amazing effort!

Sorting through the boxes of donations

Sorting through the boxes of donations

Last week, I began the task of unpacking all of the donation boxes and separating everything by brand (Coloplast, Hollister, ConvaTec, Nu-Hope, and others). I carefully and very methodically organized the counts on paper into categories such as pouches, wafers, skin prep, paste, etc. After several hours of counting, then I entered all the data into the computer on a spreadsheet where I calculate a per item cost to come up with a monetary value total. So, as you can see, there is a lot of time put into this process, but very rewarding in the end. This gives everybody an idea of how your donations are helping and we are able to see how this is growing. Besides, it helps me sharpen my math skills of which I so desperately need!

Oh What a Difference We All Can Make!

As of today, I have the great privilege to tell all of you, your donations have equaled nearly $26,000! We have collected over 11,400 medical supply items ranging from ostomy pouches and wafers for all types of ostomies to surgical tools, wound dressings, and medical travel kits. We had received a very large donation of infant ostomy supplies. This could never work without the willingness and kindness of all of you who have thought to donate to this cause! We are helping so many people who otherwise would have no access to these items.

All the supplies are counted

All the supplies are counted

Before moving to Texas, I had met a woman who had to use bread bags and rubber bands in place of an ostomy pouching system. Can you even imagine what that would be like? The donations we collect are for people like her. So remember that when you change your ostomy pouching brand or if you have a temporary ostomy, and you have new unused supplies, think of this donation and send them over.

From my heart, I want to say a very genuine thank you to everybody who contributed to this amazing effort. $26,000 worth of supplies collected in less than 8 months!!! That is incredible! That’s a cumulative total of over $59,000 in supplies since beginning this donation drive two years ago! Let’s keep this donation drive going! Sometimes it hits me as I am counting supplies, and realizing how each person is a part of this. It gets very emotional; I am driven by that emotion to keep going and keep promoting this effort because we are all doing our part even in the smallest of ways–it makes the biggest difference. For more information, click here to find shipping details.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” ~St. Francis of Assisi


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