Survivor to Thriver

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We know that stoma surgery can have a profound effect on a person’s life and can cause significant changes in their daily routine, as well as impacting on their body confidence, self-belief, and ability to cope both physically and emotionally.

We also realise that individual responses to surgery can vary and are dependent on so many factors – for example was the operation an emergency, do they have their stoma as a result of a cancer diagnosis, are they more prone to anxiety and depression – all these things can play a major part in how well someone copes with what can be for many, a truly frightening experience.

When I was researching and developing this white paper on the psychological impact of stoma formation it became quite evident that whilst we have made huge advancements in products and services, unfortunately many patients continue to struggle with coming to terms and psychologically adjusting to their new life with a stoma. 

The white paper is entitled “Survivor to Thriver” and explores the 3 main elements which many ostomates struggle to cope with: 

  • Firstly, loss of control leading to a grieving process-How important it is that we validate the sense of loss of control that ostomates can feel after surgery. Giving them the language they need to express their feelings, as they navigate through a range of emotions from grieving and denial, through to ultimate acceptance.
  • Secondly, altered body image and loss of self-esteem. How crucial it is that we integrate mutual support, educational, and supportive interventions within each patient’s care plan to help address these issues.
  • And lastly intimacy and sexual healing. As stoma care nurses we need to be willing to acquire new skills through appropriate specialized training and education helping us address highly sensitive topics with our patients

To complement the white paper and these important discussions, I would also invite you to watch our series of 4 webinars in the links below which explore these key themes.  In each webinar you will hear from several international guest speakers, experts within their own specialist field, offering solutions to help us support our patients more effectively within their psychological recovery. Each webinar will hopefully include learnings which provide translatable skills to your current clinical practice.

Webinar 1:

Webinar 2:

Webinar 3:

Webinar 4:

Thank you for reading and please click here to download your copy of the white paper. You can also find out more on how our eakin dot pouches can help make ostomates feel more secure and confident to get on with their lives –

World Ostomy Day 2021

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Comber based international ostomy manufacturer, TG Eakin Ltd will help support and celebrate World Ostomy Day on 2nd October 2021. Part of the Eakin Healthcare Group, the well-respected family-owned manufacturer will promote the importance of the work undertaken by the International Ostomy Association by sharing the valuable views of a young ostomate from Northern Ireland.

In response to this year’s motto “ostomates rights are human rights – anytime and anywhere” TG Eakin will provide a platform for 26 year old Aneica Duffy to have a voice and help raise awareness of what is often referred to as a hidden disability.

“For those who are not in the ostomy community, there is a lot of stigma attached to stomas. But we are getting there and that’s because of people being more open about it, but we’ve still got a long way to go. It’s not just the elderly that requires a stoma, there are people of all ages. It doesn’t mean we are different, we just have to change a few things as to how we live.” Aneica Duffy

Aneica Duffy

Aneica had an operation to form a stoma when she was just 19 but wouldn’t have survived without surgery, visit our community to read her full story.

Eakin has been supporting people living with a stoma for over 40 years, the operation based in County Down employs 143 people from the local communities and more than 20 colleagues across six different countries.

TG Eakin’s Clinical Advisor Marie McGrogan says “A stoma can be formed at any age and involves surgery to create an opening in the abdomen in order to pass waste (stool or urine), requiring a stoma pouch to be worn. It is often a lifelong procedure which can impact all areas of a person’s life.”

Director of International Ostomy & Wound Janet Fairlie-Vogt adds, “the products and support we offer from Comber benefits ostomates all over the world, and World Ostomy Day is another great opportunity for us to support those living in the community”.

Director of International Ostomy & Wound

Ostomy support bears

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ostomy support bears

Here at eakin® we are proud to support Ostomy Support Bears WA, an initiative started by Australian ileostomate, Kelly Moss.  The bears are created with the aim of providing comfort to children who are undergoing stoma surgery, and also as an educational tool.  Each teddy has a stoma with a removable pouch that can be used to explain what a stoma is and how it works to young people.

It’s not just children that find comfort in the teddies, Kelly and her team make ostomy support bears for ostomates of all ages, to help give them a sense of acceptance and comfort but most of all to put a smile on their faces. Kelly came up with the idea after being given an ostomy bear herself at the age of 42.

Kelly said “I decided I wanted to make more teddy bears but I didn’t know where to start.  I put the word out on social media asking people for help and had an overwhelming response.  I now have five ladies making bears.”

stoma bears

To keep up with demand, Kelly used crowdfunding to purchase bears that the stomas and pouches are then attached to.  So far, the group have made about 400 bears, which are donated to Perth Children’s Hospital and stoma nurses across Australia to distribute.  The bears can also be purchased and shipped internationally; Kelly has already sent bears to USA, Canada, UK and South Africa from her Perth base.

Kelly relies on donations for her not for profit work, and eakin® were delighted to be able to contribute to the project through a donation of Paediatric and Neonatal bags. 

Kelly has achieved a lot in six months and is proud of the impact she is making: “I believe this has raised awareness and helped reduce any stigma attached to having an ostomy.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this initiative and hope it continues.”

If you would like to find out more or request a bear, you can contact Kelly though her social media groups. 

Instagram: ostomysupportbears

Facebook: Ostomy support bears WA

ostomy support bears creator receiving donations
Kelly receiving the eakin® pouches from Myra Mitchell of Omnigon, our Australian partner.

Advice for Ostomates on Active Living and Hernias

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Adrian March MA PhD has been a trustee of the Colostomy Association since its formation, and has now become Consultant to the Association.

He has had a colostomy for ten years, as a consequence of ano-rectal cancer. Adrian now lives in the south of France, in Provence, and maintains contact with the Colostomy Association, and with patients who are referred to him, almost entirely via the internet.

By profession a consultant in engineering research, he has also for many years, as a tutor of the Amateur Swimming Association and of the National Coaching Foundation, taught and trained teachers in swimming, diving, and aqua aerobics, and lectured to sports coaches on anatomy, physiology, and the technique of coaching children. His own sport may be a unique one for an ostomate: powerlifting.

Adrian writes and maintains two websites, both dedicated to providing practical advice to ostomates through a range of Technical Notes, but particularly angled towards physical activity, participation in sport, and the problems of hernias. The principal site for the English speaking world is, which includes also some simple healthy eating recipes and a Young Ostomates page, but there is a sister site,, which contains much of the same content, but is slowly being developed into a bilingual site in English and French, because French speaking ostomates do not appear to be as well provided with information as the English. Both sites offer users the opportunity to email Adrian with questions regarding their problems, and to suggest additional subjects which they would like to see treated.