Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society
October 01, 2009 11:59 ET
Jessica Grossman, Age 20, Uncovers Ostomy for World Ostomy Day
Attention: Education Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Media Editor, News Editor
TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - Oct. 1, 2009) - Toronto-based actor and model, 20-year-old Jessica Grossman, kicks off the Uncover Ostomy public awareness campaign on World Ostomy Day, October 3, 2009. Uncover Ostomy is a provocative look at a hidden issue-the social stigma of living life with an ostomy.
"World Ostomy Day is a day we recognize the importance of ostomy surgeries as life-quality improvements for people suffering through terrible illnesses," said Jessica. "I've had my ostomy for six years and every day I am thankful for how healthy I feel because of it. World Ostomy Day is the perfect time to show this to Canadians."
Many ostomy patients, especially those who have had recent surgery, are reluctant to talk about the changes made to their body. Living in a society that shuns body waste discussion, ostomy patients often feel alone. Quality of life suffers as ostomy patients may be reluctant to participate in recreational activities they previously enjoyed for fear of adverse social reactions. Estimates suggest 50,000 Canadians are living with an ostomy, although the true number remains unknown.
In the Uncover Ostomy campaign, Jessica exposes what may be beneath the clothes of 1 out of every 700 Canadians. Jessica partnered with the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS) to create UncoverOstomy.com, a website serving as the hub for an ongoing social media discussion about ostomy related issues. A long-time performer despite a lengthy battle with Crohn's disease, being in front of a camera was natural for Jessica.
"Most of my friends and family are using Facebook and other social networking sites to communicate with one another these days. We decided to give them something really unique to discuss," Jessica explains. "We took some barely dressed photos with my bag completely visible. When people see these images they're going to be really surprised. I don't know if anyone has ever shown the ostomy in this kind of light before. A lot of people think of ostomy as an old person's problem. It's not."
"When Jessica approached us a year ago with her vision for this project we felt an instant fit with what IDEAS is all about," said John O'Shaughnessy, IDEAS board president. "Our programs raise awareness and educate people about intestinal diseases and the issues patients' face. A lot of people have ostomies because of intestinal diseases. We want to help Jessica uncover the ostomy and help frame a positive public discussion aimed at eliminating social stigma surrounding the ostomy."
Visitors to UncoverOstomy.com are encouraged to share the site's content with their online networks and make donations to IDEAS for awareness projects.
"It's a 10 plus 10 ask," Jessica explained. "Donate $10 to IDEAS and share the website with 10 friends and ask them to do the same. If 10,000 people in Canada do this, we'll raise $100,000. More importantly, we'll educate as many Canadians as possible about the ostomy and why having one can be really good for people suffering through terrible illnesses."
/For further information: About Jessica Grossman: Jessica is a 20 year old University of Western Ontario media studies student, an actor and a model. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 9, Jessica made the decision to have her diseased colon removed at age 13 and undergo ileostomy surgery. Professional studio photographs of Jessica, including her ostomy, are available for media reprint on request.
About Ostomy: Ostomies are a category of diversionary surgeries. There are three major types: a colostomy is made from the large intestine (colon); an ileostomy is made from the small intestine (ileum); and a urostomy is a diversion of the urinary tract. The most common reasons for ostomy surgery include inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, birth defects and trauma.
About IDEAS: The Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society is a Canadian non-profit organization with chapters in Vancouver, BC and Windsor, ON. The society’s mission is to eliminate intestinal disease and ostomy related stigma. Their website serves as an educational resource and their programs aim to enhance life-quality for children and youth suffering from Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other digestive illnesses.
IN: EDUCATION, HEALTH, MEDIA, SOCIAL