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Living with a hidden disability, you’re not alone! Read Natalie’s story and help her to make a change.

14th December 2017

An article on the BBC website caught our eye recently, the story of Natalie Toper from London who was told: “have a stoma and live or don’t have one and die”.

It’s a story that we have heard before, and one that many of our customers have lived through. What’s great about the story is that it’s highlighting life with a stoma in the mainstream media and drawing attention to how challenging it can be.

Natalie was told she would need an ileostomy in 2014 just before her 32nd birthday after being diagnosed with late-stage bowel and rectal cancer. She outlines the challenges she has since faced since her operation, such as being met with hostility when using disabled facilities due to the concealed nature of a stoma.

For us, and many others, what this story really highlights is the need for further awareness of “stomite’s”, as Natalie refers to those who have a stoma. With approximately 1 in 500 people in the UK affected it’s time that the public was made more aware of this hidden disability to halt the stigma and encourage people not to judge when they see a seemingly able person using disabled facilities.

In fact, Natalie herself has started a petition to add stoma signs to disabled toilets and include stoma changing facilities. You can sign the petition yourself here and hopefully help to change perceptions on stomas in the process. At the time of writing the petition is at almost 4,000 signatures, a government response is warranted at 10,000 so we encourage anybody who follows us to do so!  

You can read the story in full here on the BBC website.

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