Mrs. Washington World America Robin Brown Serves as UOAA Ostomy Awareness Day 2020 Champion

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United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) encourages "Ostomies Are Life-Savers" initiative to mark the 10th Anniversary of National Ostomy Awareness Day

"I never thought I’d have an ostomy. I never dreamed this farm girl would be a beauty queen. I never imagined my trials would become my triumph and my story of hope," says Robin Brown, Ostomy Awareness Day 2020 Champion.

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 own ostomy support group here in St. Louis a person once chose a similar dark fate by choosing to stop eating. My family and I are happy I am alive today and living a healthy and productive life after having ostomy surgery in 1989," says UOAA President Susan Burns.

There are 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). This population is helping to spread the word that “Ostomies are Life-Savers.” UOAA has learned that with proper medical care and emotional support, there is nothing most people living with an ostomy are not capable of doing. People of all ages may have an ostomy as result of surviving cancers such as colorectal and bladder, war injuries and trauma, birth defects, and irritable bowel disease. "Because of ostomy surgery we find love, swim, work, dance, climb mountains and simply live our lives," Burns says.

This year Mrs. Washington World America, Robin Brown, will even take part in a national beauty pageant with her ostomy pouch. Brown is serving as UOAA's champion for the 10th Anniversary of Ostomy Awareness Day on Saturday, October 3, 2020. "I never thought I’d have an ostomy. I never dreamed this farm girl would be a beauty queen. I never imagined my trials would become my triumph and my story of hope," Brown says. "Ostomy surgery was my life-saver and I want everyone to join with us to help smash ostomy stigmas," Brown adds.

Supporters are being asked to shine a positive light on this life-saving surgery by sharing educational information and dispelling common myths. Current ostomy pouching systems are odor-proof and are seldom visible under clothing. "You have likely met a person with an ostomy and never even knew it," Burns says. On social media the hashtag #OstomiesAreLifesavers and #OstomyDay2020 will reveal personal life-saver stories and photos of people like Brown who proudly pose in photos with their ostomy pouches visible in raise ostomy awareness. Participants are encouraged to go live on their social media networks and to share why they are happy to be alive in life after surgery. Over a thousand supporters are also shining a positive light all across the country during the 7th Annual Run for Resilience Virtual Ostomy 5k.

For more information and to connect to one of UOAA's over 330 local support groups around the U.S. visit

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

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Ed Pfueller
United Ostomy Associations of America
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