2010 Great Comebacks® Regional Award recipients Yvonne Austin and David Barger were at first reluctant to submit their stories to the Great Comebacks® program, but their friends and family knew that they had important stories to tell.
Acknowledging the positive impact that a story of ostomy surgery from someone who has been there can have on another patient, three good friends each took the initiative and submitted a story about Yvonne to Great Comebacks®. ”Yvonne always had such a positive outlook on life, even throughout her struggles with Crohn’s disease,” said friend Paula Currie. ”She had to make a life-changing decision to have the surgery and embraced her new life with grace and gratitude.”
Yvonne had only told a few of her closest friends and family about her surgery before she won the Great Comebacks® Award. But since that time, she has been inspired many times to share her experiences with others who are planning for ostomy surgery.
”I didn’t apply for the award because just didn’t feel comfortable writing about myself,” said Yvonne, ”But after I won and they were reading my story aloud at the regional event, I was so touched. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments and I thought, this is one of the nicest things anyone has done for me.”
David Barger was motivated to apply to the Great Comebacks® program by the 2009 West Region recipient Sylvia Prothro Hebert, whom he had known since seventh grade. Both Sylvia and David struggled with Crohn’s disease for years prior to ostomy surgery.
”David came to my house for advice when he found out he needed to have ostomy surgery too. He saw how I was able to accept my surgery and was less anxious about his own,” said Sylvia. ”After surgery, he was inspired by the volunteer work I had been doing with Youth Rally to also help make a difference. David told me he wanted to reach others to show them that ostomy surgery can be a new beginning and I referred him to the Great Comebacks® program.”
After speaking with Sylvia, David felt more comfortable about his surgery and is now much more open in discussing his health and condition. In fact, the story he submitted to Great Comebacks® was 15 pages long!
”Through Great Comebacks®, I’ve learned that every story is different. I share mine regularly with many people, including the physicians I meet as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company,” said David.
In so many cases, friends, family and caregivers of ostomy patients have shared wonderful stories of hope and courage about people they know with an ostomy. If you know someone who has a story to tell about a recovery from ostomy surgery and living life to the fullest, tell us about it! You can submit a story to Great Comebacks® any time. We look forward to seeing your submissions for this year’s Great Comebacks® Awards. The deadline to submit a story is July 15, 2011. Please click here for more information.
We look forward to reading your submission and learning about more of the many dedicated people living with an ostomy in communities all across America.