The United Colon Vlog ostomy supply donation driveJune 21, 2013
As most of you who follow the United Colon Vlog know, we have been collecting new, unused, and unopened medical and ostomy supplies for quite some time. We began the donation drive back in early 2010, and it has grown so much over the past years. This last week was the biggest ostomy supply drive in our three year history; topping our numbers by leaps and bounds! This last count of supplies came in at 1,334 assorted adult ostomy bags, 1108 wafers (flanges), 171 infant ostomy bags w/ wafers, and 3,752 miscellaneous medical supply items.
How it started
Over the past several years, I have moved a couple of times. When I began, the ostomy supply drive started in my home in De Pere, WI. Not knowing how the drive would go, or how others would respond, I took a chance hoping that this idea would catch on. Having gone through two temporary ostomies and now living with a permanent one, I was surprised by how many samples I had accumulated, how many different brands I have gone through to find the right fit, how many appliances I have tried to find that did not irritate my skin, and so on, and so on, and so on. I stored these supplies in my bathroom cupboard.
In 2010 the news came to us that a horrible earthquake had hit Haiti. I felt moved by the overwhelming destruction and devastation and needed to feel like I could help in some way. So, the idea began to form and slowly became reality; I cannot be the only one who has accumulated various medical supplies over time. There must be others with supplies willing to ship them to those in need. I announced that the United Colon Vlog would start an ostomy and medical supply drive in hopes that we could send these supplies initially to Haiti after the Haitians were left with little and their needs were so great. Well, we asked and our incredible followers listened, and I was blown away by the generosity shown by many! It was one of those WOW factor moments in UCVlog history. Our first donation drive was a great success and our collection was sent to Haiti through a faith organization going down to help following this disaster. But the story did not end here.
The need is great
Once the ostomy supplies started pouring in I saw a great need to keep this going. So that is how it all began. One box at a time, one bag, one wafer, donated, each donation coming from someone with a different story of their journey with an ostomy who wanted to help. It grew and grew. As evidence in all the pictures you can see the progression of how our donation drive grew. Proof positive that you are all making a difference! So with careful research and relationships we have made, our donations are sent to countries all over the world. Places such as Algeria, Vietnam, Guatemala, Chile, Haiti, Bosnia, Bulgaria, just to name a few.
From my move to Texas and now back in Wisconsin, our desire to continue this has never wavered.
And your donations pour in with such openhandedness and a willingness to help in any way you can. Each of you have entrusted me to make this possible so others less fortunate can benefit from these supplies. I never want to let you down. As long as there is a need, I am hopeful to keep the ostomy supplies coming in order to provide those in developing countries with the resources you have made possible through your donations.
I recently had contact with some of the hospitals and organizations in need of these supplies and the stories out of these nations were heart wrenching. I was told of ostomates not having proper supplies and using plastic bags as well as having to wash out their ostomy appliance bags and reuse them for months at a time. Think about that for a moment. Many times they are ostracized from their communities because of odor or superstition. This is after surviving surgery and complications that arise in areas that struggle with the ability to provide proper medical care.
Many times I hear about the children and babies, and it tears at my heart strings to think of those little ones that suffer and endure circumstances that are unimaginable to us. Whatever the case is, these people continue to be in great need and our organization wishes to continue to be a resource to provide supplies on an ongoing basis.
“I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do.” ~Helen Keller