While many people attend the UOAA National Conference to meet new friends, learn tips about living with an ostomy or get advice, for Linda Pasto, this year’s meeting in Reno, Nevada was a time to get people excited about the recently introduced ostomy resolutions.
”I was grabbing people, pulling them over to the Great Comebacks® booth and urging them to send a letter to their legislators,” said Linda Pasto, the 2010 Great Comebacks® East Region Award recipient. ”When my U.S. Representative called me to tell me he signed on as a co-sponsor for the ostomy bills it really fired me up!”
Linda also was sure to persuade some of the first-time participants in the UOAA conference to sign up. ”I met up with a person I met in a discussion group who just had surgery this past January and was feeling very isolated, hesitant and shy. By the end of the conference he was much more open and feeling confident,” she said.
When she finally took a break to join in on a dance at the closing banquet, Linda noticed how everyone seemed to be having a great time and put their medical issues behind them.
For 2008 Great Comebacks® National Award recipient and founder of ostomysecrets® Lisa Becker, UOAA was full of education and entertainment. Lisa and her business partner Cricket Henley started up their ostomysecrets® undergarment fashion show with a short comedy skit. ”We joked about topics that everybody is embarrassed to talk about, like a leak in the middle of the night,” said Lisa.
Her fashion show included people with an ostomy in athletic, swim and intimate attire wearing an ostomysecrets® undergarment. The audience was so impressed that almost all 350 attendees immediately ran over to her bins of underwear and swim wraps.
”The next day we had people come up to our booth in tears saying things like, ‘Lisa, I can finally wear these pants again because of your underwear,’ or ‘I haven’t felt this comfortable since before my surgery.’ It was really great to hear testimonials because we’re an online company and don’t usually have the opportunity to meet our customers,” said Lisa.
Both Lisa and Linda agree that the UOAA conference offers a great supportive environment where people living with an ostomy can get answers to many important questions about living with a stoma.
”There is such a sense of family at the UOAA conference, even with people you have just met who share a collective desire to make our world a better place,” added Linda.