Christine MacCallum of Marshfield, is one of many Islanders who has been advocating for the support of those who are struggling with ostomies. Today, MacCallum is the facilitator of the Ostomy Peer Support Group of Charlottetown - the first of its kind on PEI.
"We started out with eleven members [last year] and now we have fifty-three," says MacCallum of the peer support group. "We have a common desire to bring awareness to people living with an Ostomy, that our group is here, and we are willing to help."
An ostomy, also known as a stoma, is an opening in the body that has been created during surgery in lieu of intestinal tract that has been repaired, or lost to trauma, or medical conditions. Over 600 Islanders are currently living with ostomies; and that number continues to grow every day.
Prince Edward Island is one of the few provinces across the country that offers little to no financial or emotional support to those living with ostomies. Daily supplies are a necessity, and the costs can be overwhelming; not to mention the embarrassment, depression, and shame that people with ostomies often endure from public stigma.
In lieu of World Ostomy Day, the Ostomy Peer Support Group of Charlottetown is hosting the Stoma Stroll - an awareness walk - this Saturday, Oct. 6th, 10 am - 12 pm, at the Chi-Wan Sports Centre at UPEI. There is no registration fee.
Above: Christine MacCallum receives an award from The PEI Council of the Disabled, September 2018, for community work and ongoing advocacy for those with ostomies. (Photo submitted by Jimmy MacCallum).
The walk will start at the entrance of the Chi-Wan Sports Centre on the UPEI campus, Saturday, Oct. 6th, at 10 am, and work its way down to the Confederation Trail, to the Farmers Market and back. "Walk as little or as much as you want," says MacCallum.
There will door prizes and a silent auction. And, in the event of rain, the walk will take place inside the Chi-Wan Sports Centre on the walking track.
There is no registration fee. "We are looking for support from family and friends, and anyone who wishes to help let the government know that hundreds of Islanders are struggling with the cost of Ostomy supplies that they cannot live without," says MacCallum.
If you cannot make the Stoma Stroll, in lieu World Ostomy Day, you can make a donation to Ostomy Canada via our local Ostomy Peer Support Group of Charlottetown, PEI. For more information, contact Christine MacCallum at email@example.com