Ostomy Canada Society provides many awards to recognize the good work that our volunteers do to help people living with an ostomy

The Maple Leaf Award is the most prestigious award presented by the Ostomy Canada Society. It is awarded to a member or associate who has done outstanding volunteer service for the benefit of the Ostomy Canada Society and its members. Any member is eligible to receive this award, with the exception of members of the Executive council. Chapters are encouraged to submit nominations for this award. Previous recipients are:

  • 2019 – Peter Folk, Saskatoon, SK
  • 2016 – Joel Jacobson, Halifax, NS
  • 2014 – Les Kehoe, Toronto, ON
  • 2012 –  Di Bracken,  Toronto, ON
  • 2010 –  Pat Cimmeck,  Calgary AB
  • 2009 –  Annette Weidenfeld,  Yarmouth, NS
  • 2008 –  Roger Ivol,  Hamilton, ON
  • 2007 –  Betty Woolridge,  Halifax, N.S.
  • 2006 –  Bette Yetman*,  Halifax NS
  • 2005 –  Mike Woolridge*,  Halifax NS
  • 2004 –  Verna Petrie,  New Waterford NS
  • 2003 –  David Metcalfe*,  Victoria BC
  • 2002 –  Judy Steeves,  Fredericton NB
  • 2001 –  Jim DeGeer,  Coquitlam BC
  • 2000 –  Ron Bartlett*,  Hamilton ON
  • 1999 –  Sheelah Zapf*,  Edmonton AB


The deadline for receipt of nominations for the Maple Leaf Award is May 31, 2019. Completed forms should be sent to Ostomy Canada Society office, attention Awards Chair.

Download a Maple Leaf Award nomination form and selection criteria form here.


President’s Award can be bestowed on any one of its members or associates. The award is presented annually to the individual, at the Annual Conference, who the President deems to have demonstrated outstanding voluntary service on behalf of the organization. The award can be presented to any member at any level of the organization or to an associate. The award cannot be shared as it carried too much importance. The award will be issued solely on the discretion of the President of the Ostomy Canada Society. The Executive can and may be solicited for their advice but the final decision will rest with the President. The President will make his/her selection and the name of the recipient will be held in secrecy until the time of the awards presentation at the banquet during the conference. A plaque will commemorate the event for the individual and the president or his/her designate will present the award.

  • 2019 – Cathy Harley, Executive Director of NSWOCC., Ottawa, ON
  • 2016 – Ed Tummers, Halifax, NS
  • 2014 – Lisa Gausman, Calgary, AB
  • 2012 – Gene Zapf, Edmonton, AB
  • 2010 – Ferne Oliver, Fredericton NB
  • 2009 – Verna Petrie, New Waterford NS
  • 2008 – Astrid Graham*, Ottawa, ON
  • 2007 – Les Kehoe Ottawa, ON
  • 2006 – Lorne Aronson, Toronto ON
  • 2005 – Judy Steeves, Fredericton, NB
  • 2004 – Roger Ivol, Hamilton, ON
  • 2003 – Dielwen (Di) Bracken, Toronto, ON
  • 2002 – Elizabeth Lindner, Calgary, AB
  • 2001 – Ron Bartlett*, Hamilton, ON
  • 2000 – Bette Yetman*, Dartmouth, NS
  • 1999 – Dr. Zane Cohen, Chief of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON

The NSWOC (ET) of the Year Award is awarded to an NSWOC (E.T.) nurse who has supported ostomates via involvement with his/her local chapter’s activities and national functions. The award also enables Ostomy Canada Society members to acknowledge their NSWOC (E.T.) nurse for their support and services. Previous recipients are:

  • 2019 – Joan Peddle, Moncton, NB
  • 2018 – Dr. Kevin Woo, Toronto, ON
  • 2016 – Marg James, St John, NB
  • 2014 – Andrea (Andy) Manson, New Westminster, BC
  • 2012 – Gail Creelman, Halifax, NS
  • 2010 – Heather Orsted, Calgary, AB
  • 2009 – Teri-Anne Schroeder, Saskatoon, SK
  • 2008—Joy Baetz, Oshawa, ON
  • 2007—Jean Grignon Sudbury, ON
  • 2006—Lorraine Sinclair, Calgary AB
  • 2004—Delilah Guy, Gander NL
  • 2003—Susan Hunter, Regina SK
  • 2002—Ruth Kenney, Dartmouth NS
  • 2001—Donna Weiss, Edmonton AB
  • 2000—Shirley McSavaney, Nepean ON
  • 1999—Dianne Garde, Mississauga ON

Deadline for receipt of nominations for NSWOC (ET) of the Year Award is May 31, 2019. Completed forms should be sent to Ostomy Canada Society office, attention Awards Chair.

NSWOC (ET) of the Year Nomination form and Selection criteria can be downloaded here.


This award is designed to recognize persons with an ostomy who:

  • Has made significant achievements in his/her life following their ostomy surgery.
  • Has made a meaningful contribution to the community or to others around them.
  • Has contributed to eliminating prejudicial misconceptions relating to people with ostomies, in society

This Award is sponsored by ConvaTec, www.convatec.ca

Application forms and flyers are posted here.

  • 2016 – Manda Ann Roddick, Victoria, BC
  • 2015 – Jacques Beadreault, Quebec, PQ
  • 2014 – Paula Timm, Calgary, AB
  • 2013 – Paul Riome, Saskatoon, SK
  • 2012 – Mary Penner*, Toronto, ON
  • 2011 – Carly Lindsay, Waterford, ON
  • 2010 – Mike Woolridge*, Enfield, NS
  • 2009 – Doug Graham, Ottawa, ON
  • 2008 – Judy Steeves, Fredericton, NB
  • 2007 – Debra Rooney, Vancouver, BC
  • 2006 – Minerva Holton*, Moncton, NB
  • 2005 – Judy Woods, Fredericton, NB
  • 2004 – Sheelah Zapf*, Edmonton, AB
  • 2003 – Dr. Kevin McHugh, Hamilton, ON
  • 2002 – David Metcalfe*, Victoria, BC
  • 2001 – Bette Yetman*, Dartmouth, NS
  • 2000 – Poldi Olafson, Red Deer, AB
  • 1999 – Patricia Cimmeck, Calgary, AB

The Unsung Hero/Heroes Awards are presented to those individuals who always work behind the scenes in any successful organization. They are also dedicated to the Ostomy Canada Society, but do not seek the limelight. In fact they prefer to do their work and give their support in an unobtrusive manner.


Unsung Heroes (1990-1996)

Lottie CalliVancouver, BCApril, 1995
** Georgina PennyCape Breton, NSMay, 1995
Dave SheaEditor, North Bay & District Chapter NewsletterJune, 1995
Muffy TruscottEditor, “Regina Ostomy News”September, 1995
Blanche AlwardOshawa, ONOctober, 1995
Dolly KnobelOttawa, ONNovember, 1995
Sheila DuckettWindsor, ONDecember, 1995
Emmy MerzBrantford & District, ONJanuary, 1996
Hazel HarrisPrince Edward Island ChapterFebruary, 1996
Jim BookEditor, Ottawa ChapterMarch, 1996
** Arnie FreistadtSaskatoon, SKApril, 1996
Lucide RiouxFredricton & District, NBMay, 1996
Jean-Pierre Lapointe“Mister Ileo-Colostomy Assn. of Montreal”June, 1996
Stan SparkesPast-President, Winnipeg, MBOctober, 1996
Roger IvolHamilton & District, ONNovember, 1996
** Deceased





Lottie Calli – Vancouver Chapter

Shortly after Lottie’s ileostomy was performed in 1974, she joined the Vancouver Chapter in January, 1975. Just seven years later, in 1982, and as the usual case, nobody to do it, the newsletter was “trusted to me”. So Lottie took it on, even though she was “green: in editing, and is still at it. With the help of many people, Val Pellatt her current right hand, an Apple Macintosh computer, along with PageMaker and Microsoft Word programs, “Highlife” evolved into one of our outstanding chapter newsletters. Lottie is ten years into her senior years. After being widowed in 1980 and losing her companion, Gordon, in 1992, lives alone now with Sammy the cat. Among her many interests is her love of gardening, the outdoors, fishing, swimming, and, Bridge, like many seniors. She also loves crab fishing with her grandsons in Prince Rupert. Lottie wanted to mention members Ivor and Joan Williams who are always ready to help, along with `old standbys George and Vi Puhl who give our Chapter some character.’





Georgina Penny – Cape Breton Chapter

‘Georgie’ has been involved with the Chapter (located in Sydney) since 1975 when her late husband Sam was the first president. At the same time Sam took on the newsletter editor position with Georgie doing the typing and setting up. When Sam passed away in 1985 she took over, purchasing her own computer to make it easier. Though Georgie is not an ostomate, she has kept close ties with the chapter, being involved in almost every aspect of its work. 
From 1988 to 1993, she was UOA Provincial Representative for the four Atlantic Provinces, traveling and speaking to most chapters in the Region. In 1989, Georgie was chosen the twenty-second “Citizen of the Year” by her community, following Sam who was the seventh person receiving the Award . 
Among her many interests are her Garden Club for which she has acted as a judge for several county shows and fairs, community history research committee, member and officer of three Senior’s groups, Hospital Auxiliary, church and bridge. Georgie spends a considerable amount of time traveling (not approved by Maggie, her three year old Lab) to visit her two daughters and son and grandchildren, scattered between Mississauga, London and Dartmouth. UOA Annual Conferences are high on her list and already has her reservations for Las Vegas. 
(Georgina Penny passed away on 6 April, 2001)





Dave Shea – North Bay u0026amp; District Chapter

When Dave has his colostomy surgery in January, 1970, at the age of 60, he and his wife Ida had been operating a service station and lunch counter in a tourist area at Tilden Lake, 20 miles north of North Bay. Four years later they decided to retire after 27 years of serving the public, to travel and enjoy life. 
In 1978 the Cancer Society in North Bay invited Allan Porter and Dianne Garde, ET to form an ostomy association. Eleven people joined, with Dave accepting the position of Treasurer and Membership Secretary. As he felt more people could be helped by a newsletter, offered to take that on, also. He set it up himself, typing some and attaching interesting articles from other newsletters with the Cancer Society lending a helping hand with the photocopying. They continue to offer this service, and the chapter gives them a sizeable donation in appreciation each year. He takes the 75 copies home, folds and mails them four times a year. Dave wrote that as he will be 86 years old this month (June), thinks it is time to turn the job over to someone else. Chapter Secretary, George Trembley, has agreed to take it on and give Dave a well-earned rest. 
Dave has another side and that is his interest in Economics. He gave me a copy of his book, “The A B C D of Economics” published in October, 1980, which I value highly. 
Dave and Ida’s main interest is travel and people, and hope they continue to have have many more years “on the road.” 

(Bette Yetman)





Muffy Truscott – Regina Chapter

When Muffy had her ostomy surgery in 1986 for cancer, never dreamed she would be Editor of the newsletter that she received as gift issues following her surgery. Shortly after joining the chapter, she took on the position in January of 1989. As she says, ‘it is so important that they (members) have access to information about new products, skin care and the like and sometimes the knowledge that they’re not alone in their situation. So I feel very strongly that the newsletter must be continued if the chapter is to survive.’ 
Muffy has been a librarian since 1971, now employed as Head Librarian at Campion College, University of Regina for the past 15 years. Her two girls are 21 and 16 years of age, the eldest just finished her final year at the University of Regina and the youngest entering Grade 12 and a serious flute player. They were 8 and 12 when her cancer was diagnosed and Muffy was in fear she wouldn’t be alive to see them grow, but is thankful that she has been able to do that. As she says, her husband is very supportive of her work with the chapter and has always been accepting of her ostomy. She credits him for helping her to adjust so quickly to her altered body. 
This librarian is no slouch when it comes to sports. A serious jogger, she runs approximately 5 miles each day, rain or shine (or wind or snow!). During the summer months, indulges in biking along with the jogging. 
Approximately 325 issues are printed, 5 times a year of which 220 go to the members, and the rest distributed to health professionals and other chapters across Canada. With her 486 computer, Word for Windows and Christine Cluff, their faculty secretary who willingly sets it up, is a far cry from 2 years ago, when Muffy typed the whole newsletter, with cutting and pasting, etc. 
She gives great credit to the Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, as they not only help with all the printing and mailing costs and but also provide money for other chapter activities.





Blanche Alward – Oshawa Ontario Chapter

When Blanche had her ostomy surgery for acute ulcerative colitis in March, 1971, like so many, thought she was the only person in Oshawa with an ostomy. 
While recuperating, her surgeon suggested she join the Toronto chapter and gave her one of their bulletins. Filling out the membership (it was $5.00 then) she attended as many meetings as possible. 
The following year, with support of her surgeon and a head nurse, she and 10 others were encouraged to form a support group. With the hospital supplying a free room, which they still occupy, began monthly meetings. It wasn’t long before they decided on launching their own newsletter, which Blanche edited, folded and mailed for about 6 years. 
In the fall of 1973, Allan Porter, who was Regional Coordinator at that time, came from Hamilton to explain the advantages of being affiliated with the UOA. Taking his advice, they joined UOA in January, 1973. 
Blanche became the third president and has since served 2 year terms in that capacity twice more. Over the years she has held every office except Treasurer and is still involved as Membership Coordinator. 
By this time, Blanche was becoming known to the UOA, and invited to join the Regional Program as Provincial Representative for Southeast Ontario. Blanche was widowed a couple of years earlier and had to learn to drive a car. As soon as this was mastered, she accepted, and was appointed in June, 1983. 
Being a prolific letter writer, it wasn’t long before all the pharmacies, VON, and ETs knew Blanche. She made good use of her driver’s license, visiting her chapters, and staying on as Rep for 11 years. Blanche has attended all the Regional Conferences since her chapter affiliated and also 12 National Conferences over the years. 
She has three sons, Ron, Reg and Ray, 7 grandchildren from 16 to 25 years of age. Her hobbies are knitting for the ostomy chapter and church bazaars, and loves making quilts. UOA has been the recipient of a number of her fine quilts as she has donated them to be auctioned at the annual conferences. 
“I am so thankful for my ostomy surgery which saved my life and for all the nice people whom I have met through ostomy chapters and the United Ostomy Association.





Dolly Knobel – Ottawa Ontario Chapter

Dolly had her ileostomy for ulcerative colitis in 1975 in Calgary. As she said, it literally saved her life even though it was touch and go for awhile even after surgery. Two people who helped her face the surgery and recover were an ET and a visitor. She joined the Calgary chapter and because her husband, Peter, was a military man, has since been a member of one chapter or another all over the world. 
The last was Ottawa and remained a member while living in Europe and, as she says, receiving their wonderful newsletter. Returning to Canada in 1984, Dolly became an active member as a visitor, while Peter became a Director and accepted the Treasurer’s position. Since then, Dolly has sat in all the chairs but her longest stint has been the last eight years as President. 
Since 1984, the Ottawa Chapter has grown with the help of substantial grants from New Horizons and the Trillium Foundation. The former enabled them to set up an office in central Ottawa, establish a library, their visiting program and a 24 hour help-line supervised by the Visiting Coordinator. Through the Trillium Foundation, they were able to start an arts and craft center. The chapter has become incorporated, established a wonderful rapport with their area ETs, the hospitals and VON, and yearly send children to the youth camp. 
For those who keep their Ostomy Quarterly magazines, check the Winter 1988 issue. Not only is Dolly on the cover, but is the author of a very humorous article, “Life u0026amp; Laughter With An Ostomy” 
Now, a widow, she and Peter had three children. Besides her chapter work, this talented lady is a novelist, painter, inveterate traveller and loves swimming, walking and gardening.





Sheila Duckett – Windsor Ontario Chapter

President Lorna Gardner nominated Sheila as their “Unsung Hero.” Sheila has been a valued and long time member of the Windsor Chapter who took over the task of editing the newsletter in September of 1987. Not only does she compose the newsletter, but after printing, stuffs the envelopes, finishing with stamps and mailing. As well, Sheila served a 3-year term as president. Every meeting has at least one member thanking Sheila for another great issue of Lifeline.
As Lorna says, “our newsletter is certainly the glue that helps hold our chapter together. She is a kind, caring and considerate person who is always giving. Without Sheila and her word processor, our chapter would not be where we are today.

For all her hard work and support, we say, “Thank You”. You are appreciated far more than you’ll every know.” Lorna had a urostomy early in life but has never that deter her from any activity. Her hobby includes a variety of crafts and her expertise makes them greatly admired. Active in her church, she helps prepare a 10-15 page quarterly newsletter for the congregation.





Emmy Merz – Brantford u0026amp; District Ontario Chapter

Emmy joined the Brantford Chapter after learning of the association through the local VON shortly after her ileostomy surgery for pseudo-membran-ous colitis in January, 1979. Born in Karlsruhe, Germany, she and her husband Otto and two daughters, Monica and Evelyn arrived in Halifax on Christmas Eve in 1951. Peter was born in Canada. 
In her native Germany, she took a 5 year home economics course, obtained her chef’s papers and worked for 25 years as a chef in Canada before her surgery. After surgery, Emmy enrolled in Mohawk College, where she took a full time course in Dressmaking and Design, graduating with honors and received a gold pin. 
When Emmy took over as President of the chapter in fall of 1988, finances were very low. She proposed the making and sale of gingerbread houses. Although members were sceptical, she and Otto baked 32 large and small gingerbread houses and made close to $450 that year. Word spread and as Emmy said, they became too successful. Each house took 2 people working 3-1/2 hours and just too time consuming. With her chef training, she decided on small chicken and fruit pies. For the past 4 years, with Otto’s help, their pies have provided their chapter with about $900 per season and range in the thousands. In October, 1994, Emmy stepped down as President. 
“Life has given me a second chance. I promised that all the money that I would ever make from my talent and expertise in cooking and baking I would give away. I have kept that promise since then and have never regretted it. These have been the happiest years of my life. I am grateful to be useful again. I was paid back in full.”





Hazel Harris – Prince Edward Island Chapter

A transplanted New Brunswicker, Hazel was born in Gondola Point, just out of Saint John but spent her growing up years in Hampton. Before her marriage to Lorimer Harris in 1962, she worked as a stenographer for a Fire Insurance Agency in Saint John. They moved to Charlottetown later that year. 
Hazel’s ileostomy for ulcerative colitis was performed in Halifax in 1973 after a number of years of misery. “Hazel was visited in hospital at the Halifax Infirmary by Bette Yetman who inspired her and was through Bette’s visit that Hazel decided that life was ahead.” 
Through Hazel’s initiative, an organizational meeting was held December, 1978 in Charlottetown which saw her voted in as founding president of the Prince Edward Island Chapter. The members wasted no time and affiliated within a month to UOA Inc. Hazel has since served as Secretary, Membership Chairman, is presently Treasurer as well as Acting Secretary, and also part of the Visiting team. 
Since affiliation, every January meeting is a big “Anniversary” celebration, complete with beautiful cake, newspaper photographer, and a write-up in the local paper. 
Lorimer has taken an interest in the chapter since its beginning, working alongside Hazel, and for the past two years has been chapter president. Their teamwork makes a noteworthy contribution to the Island ostomy scene. 
Hazel is an avid baseball fan and one who has enjoyed ice skating for many years. She considers looking after the home a full time job and during the summer months enjoys working in her garden.





Jim Book – Editor, Ottawa Chapter

Whenever a problem arises at United Ostomy Support Group, Ottawa, the call goes out – “Where’s Jim? Ask Jim. Jim will fix it. Jim will help? ” And Jim Book never fails. Jim may be seventy-nine but his motto is, “Do what needs to be done if no one else wants to do it.” And he has boundless energy. 
Jim, of Empire Loyalist stock, hates the limelight. As a young champion cyclist who rode seventy miles a day on his bike, Jim was attracted to Theda and the broadcasting world. Sweet Theda gave him two sons, and the broadcasting world took him through Sudbury, Kirkland Lake and Timmins. He tried to get into the airforce as a volunteer in 1941 but flat feet and a call to Ottawa by a CBC who needed Jim as Studio engineer to help keep the People informed but the War prevented him. The CBC was to claim him as Technical Director and ask him to cope with the coming of television etc. for the rest of his career. But generous Jim found time for volunteer work with Boy Scouts, Orange Lodge; church, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson Association, President of National Association of Broadcasters and Technicians for Canada, Cancer Society and UOA. 
Jim’s colostomy for cancer was done in 1981. He immediately joined UOA and has been an invaluable member since. Some of the highlights are his involvement with the planning of Regional Bilingual Conference in 1983, supplying of all technical backup for meetings, guest speakers, directorship in UOSG. Perhaps his most important contribution has been as lifetime Editor of Ottawa Ostomy News, a fine publication read by the medical profession as well as ostomates. Not being of the computer generation Jim spends many hours each week cutting , pasting and working on his typewriter to produce a newsletter to be proud of. 
This is a true unsung, modest and caring hero. (Dolly Knobel, President, UOSG)





Arnie Freistadt – Saskatoon Chapter

Arnie became a member of Saskatoon chapter in February of 1981 following colostomy surgery in September of 1980 as a result of cancer. 
He quickly volunteered to serve as chapter vice-president, serving in this capacity for two years then took over the role of president. Arnie is currently back in the vice-president position. 
Besides volunteering for officer positions, Arnie has served on many chapter committees over the years and especially loves the chapter visitor program, visiting ostomy patients whenever called upon. He also spends much time with the ETs speaking to their student nurses, x-ray technicians and special care nurses. 
Arnie was born and grew up in Humboldt, due east of Saskatoon. He and his wife Bernie raised a fine family of three children, two sons and a daughter. Now retired from his meat cutter profession, when Arnie is not working for his chapter, he coaches minor ball and his favorite summer pastime is camping and fishing. 
Arnie is a truly dedicated, unsung hero. (Bev Fry, President, Saskatoon Chapter)





Lucide Rioux – Fredricton u0026amp; District Chapter

For the chapter’s 20th Anniversary being celebrated this month, Lucide Rioux was nominated as this month’s ‘Unsung Hero’. Best known to everyone as Cid, he is a modest man with great dedication to the UOA. 
Born in Grand Falls, New Brunswick on January 29, 1922, Cid served in the war with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1941 to 1945. Returning to Grand Falls, he completed his auto repair training from 1945 to 1952. During that time, he served on the Grand Falls Volunteer Fire Department and as Fire Chief from 1950 to 1952. He then moved to Moncton to complete this teacher training (shop), becoming shop teacher at Grand Falls Composite High School from 1953 to 1957. 
It was at that time that Cid went to NB Department of Labor and stayed until taking early retirement in 1983. His ileostomy surgery was performed on September 23, 1977 and became a chapter member two months later. He has served as Vice President, President (4 years) and Treasurer. .Becoming an ostomy visitor in January, 1979, Cid has made 303 visits to date. 
Cid and Lorraine have been married for 51 years, and have two sons, one daughter and five grandchildren. Cid, you are indeed an Unsung Hero. (Respectfully submitted by Judy Steeves, Atlantic Provinces Field Services Representative)





Jean-Pierre Lapointe – Ileostomy/Colostomy Association of Montreal

If ever someone could be classified as a “professional volunteer”, it would have to be Jean-Pierre Lapointe of the Ileostomy-Colostomy Association of Montreal. 
After a long bout with ulcerative colitis, he underwent surgery in August, 1980. To learn how to deal with his ileostomy, he soon made contact with the Association in Montreal, and quickly became involved in its administration. 
He served a four-year term as Vice President, then to President where he remained for eight years before taking on the position of Treasurer in May 1994. As Past-President, he is a wealth of information as well as a valued counsellor to his successor. Not satisfied with these tasks, since 1985, he has been Editor of the Chapter bulletin, “Ileo Info”. 
He also runs a collection point for the SHARE program of FOW Canada for Quebec and Eastern Ontario Region, graciously providing space in his own home, and has been directly responsible for two major shipments to the third world in the last few years, with a third currently being prepared. Through his vigorous efforts, a “first ever” was accomplished for the second SHARE shipment to Beloruse, Russia with a sponsor to completely assume the shipping costs. 
Moreover, not satisfied with home town involvement, Jean-Pierre has managed to be UOA Inc. Field Service Representative for Quebec and Eastern Ontario, and was elected Treasurer of UOA of Canada Inc. in August, 1994. 
In 1988, he initiated discussions with members of ostomy groups throughout Quebec and then worked with ConvaTec to develop the “Renaissance” (Great Comeback) Award Program, an undertaking especially devoted to people with ostomies. He chairs the yearly award event. 
Considering the fact that Jean-Pierre is a very active member of the Quebec Provincial Police Force for more than 27 years, married to Nicole and dedicated father of two, Patrick and Isabelle, one can only wonder how a person can find the time and energy to accomplish so much, so well. 
Personally, I tip my hat to this man, my valued mentor, and repeat, thank you, Jean-Pierre, for all you have done, and are still doing, for everyone. (Fernand Corbeil, President, I-C.A.M.)





Stan Sparkes – Winnipeg Chapter

Born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Stan grew up in a close family with eleven sisters and three brothers. At age18 he decided to see the world and joined the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. Serving for 3 years, was released in Toronto and after moving around the country, decided in 1974 to settle in Winnipeg. Since that time he’s been working at the University of Manitoba installing and maintaining traffic signs and fire equipment. Happily married to Mary Beth, they have one 16 year old daughter, Kalinda. 
After being ill for 16 years with ulcerative colitis, Stan had ileostomy surgery performed in March, 1991. The following month he not only joined the Winnipeg Chapter but was also elected Secretary. He has been President for the past three years and as his term has just ended, looks forward to serving the chapter and members in other roles. 
Stan is very pleased to have seen the chapter lobby the government on two different occasions. One was on implementing a fee on ostomy supplies and the other saving the present distribution system of ostomy supplies being changed from government to private hands. They lost the first challenge but won the second. 
He was diagnosed 2 years ago with multiple sclerosis and although it has slowed Stan a little and now uses a cane, has not slowed him down at work or with the organization. 
In Stan’s words, the chapter and the concept of the United Ostomy Association is one of the finest that I have ever had the privilege of working with or of being involved.





Roger Ivol – Hamilton u0026amp; District Chapter

We have in the Hamilton u0026amp; District Ostomy Association a person who is most worth of the title, “Unsung Hero”. I would like to introduce you to Roger Ivol. Roger is a very busy school teacher who still finds the time to be active in, and most supportive of, our organization. He is currently the Vice President. 
Roger excels in the written word and has volunteered his expertise and time to our association in this area. For approximately five years he was the editor of our well known newsletter, “Osto Info”, and when he had to step down because of other commitments, he agreed to continue as assistant editor. This he still does. 
Roger went on to accept the challenge of editing “UOA Canada Talks”, the newsletter of the UOA of Canada Inc. which is sent to all Canadian members of UOA Inc. When we were putting together our Cook Book, Roger was invaluable with his ideas and help. A very willing worker for our chapter, Roger is also on the Board of Directors of UOA of Canada Inc. He does not only confine his activities to UOA related work, but he is also involved with the Big Brother’s Association. 
Roger has represented our chapter at Annual UOA Conferences over the past years together with his wife Anne. In fact, Anne has become involved with the Association working with the Spouses section and representing Spouses on panel discussions at the UOA Conferences. 
If you telephone Roger on weekends, especially through the spring, summer and fall, you will probably not find him at home. He’s GONE FISHING – his favorite pastime. 
The phrase, “I’m too busy”, is not in Roger’s vocabulary. We in Hamilton, would like to salute, Roger Ivol. (Peggy Owen Past-President)


Unsung Heroes (1997-1999)

Helen BallHalton-Peel (Oakville) ChapterJanuary 1997
Irma TenniscoOshawa ChapterFebruary 1997
Gerry MulcahyMetro Halifax ChapterMarch 1997
Greg O’HaraSaint John ChapterApril 1997
Mary BigelowOstomy Toronto ChapterMay 1997
Dianne GardeOstomy Toronto ChapterJune 1997
Paul E. MeisePresident, Okanagan Mainline ChapterSeptember 1997
** Russell AdamsTruro ChapterOctober 1997
** Mike SurettePresident, Yarmouth ChapterJanuary 1998
Dorothy SkinnerVictoria ChapterMay 1998
** Katja Dietz, RN ETSaskatoon ChapterJune 1998
Joan WilliamsVancouver ChapterSeptember 1998
Agnes ParisloffRegina ChapterMay 1999
Helen PriesSaskatoon ChapterJune 1999
Barbara GuyCalgary ChapterJune 1999
Bridget PetersCape Breton ChapterJune 1999
Linda WarnerEdmonton ChapterJune 1999
** Harold CochraneOttawa ChapterSeptember 1999
Betty FouchardOttawa ChapterOctober 1999
Estelle BennettOttawa ChapterNovember 1999
** deceased



Helen Ball – Halton/Peel (Oakville) Chapter

We all have met hundreds of people over the course of our lives but relatively few become friends and go on to make a significant difference to us. Little did I know when I first met Helen in 1981 that she would end up playing an important part in my life. A meeting was called in my then hometown of Oakville to see if we could form an ostomy association. Helen was the first one through the door – she still is one of the first through the door. Helen is a doer “a woman of action but always behind the scenes” not for her the limelight. You just can’t imagine how much Helen has done for the Halton-Peel chapter over the years. When I took over our newsletter, Helen had just retired as a school secretary and I was still teaching. She used to come to my classroom at lunch time and we would collate, staple and stuff the pages of the newsletter into envelopes. Helen would then take them home to be mailed. I retired a couple of years ago as the editor but Helen soldiered on taking the newsletter to the printer and completing the mailing. Now we are back as a team again, and do you know, I just love it. We have had some changes “we no longer collate” but we still staple and do the rest. Helen as a secretary was an accomplished secretary while I “hunt and peck”. Many years ago now I talked Helen into at least trying my computer. “I left my job without knowing anything about the computer. I’m too old to learn.” Well learn Helen did and for many years now, I give Helen the material and she inputs it. We correct together and I do the layout, but all that hard typing is Helen. She wasn’t too old to learn and she is delighted to be able to talk knowledgeably to her grandchildren about the computer. In January of this year, I moved into north Toronto and now Helen has to drive Canada’s busiest section of highway, the 401 across the city to get to me-but she does, competing with all the truck drivers! Oh, no, this isn’t by any means all that Helen does. She was the founding secretary of Halton-Peel and gave that up to be in charge of membership which she has been doing for more years than we both care to remember. She knows who hasn’t paid dues and when there are difficulties arising. And she has remained on the Board for all the years that we have had a chapter. One of our favorite things we do together is visit new ostomates. Helen is a colostomate while I am an ileostomate but we make a great team. We know each other so well, we know how the other will handle questions. If you want anything done, ask Helen. You will remember that for World Ostomy Day, UOA of Canada was selling raffle tickets. We were looking for volunteers to sell them in the lobby of Mt. Sinai hospital. Yes – there was Helen with her friend Frances. Anything she can do to help the association, she will do. However, she doesn’t only work for UOA. Helen is an active volunteer in both her church and in the local Seniors group. She has recently retired as the Senior’s secretary because she is so very busy. Her motto is: “Have something to do every day that will help others”. She does have something she does for herself. She loves bridge and is still an active player. Helen has been a widow for a number of years with two married daughters living in Oakville and a son in the States. I am most proud to have Helen as a friend. Wasn’t it fortunate that she was the first person through the doors so many years ago. (Di Bracken, Co-Editor, Halton-Peel Chapter)



Irma Tennisco – Oshawa Ontario Chapter

Irma had her ileostomy surgery in 1981 and shortly afterwards attended her first meeting, at which time I asked her to be Secretary. There was a definite need as I was President and had no Secretary. She accepted the challenge with grace, served until about 1988, then took over the position of President. During her tenure, Irma wrote many articles on ostomies for the local news to promote ostomy awareness among the community. After her two year term as President, she served again as Secretary until about two years ago. Over the years she and I have attended nearly every National and Regional Conference, sharing a room and having had some memorable times. Irma said one time, “Just think of all the nice people and friends I would never have met if I had not had ostomy surgery.” She has gone with me to visit patients and give presentations to the nurses at Durham College, Nursing Homes and organizations. One of her main talents is being so articulate and gifted with good ideas to the benefit of the chapter. She works part time at Sears but due to her husband’s heart condition and being his main care giver, no longer holds an office. Irma is still a valued member and friend to us all. A few years back, her husband Elroy brought their barbeque to the June picnic at Lakeview Park and did all the hot dogs and hamburgs. Indeed, it was a memorable picnic. Irma has three sons, a daughter, grandchildren, all living nearby. Among her hobbies are gardening and bridge, and her flowers and garden are a picture to behold. Irma is also very active in her church. (Blanche Alward, Membership Chairman)



Gerry Mulcahy – Metro Halifax Chapter

Gerry had her surgery in 1956 and was the first proctocolectomy performed in the Halifax Infirmary. After suffering from ulcerative colitis for 12 years, Gerry said she knew the location of every bathroom from Halifax to Boston! Little ostomy information was available at that time and was a shock when she received a rubber bag from the only supplier that looked like a long hot water bottle that hung half way down her leg, (she’s 5′ tall) held on with cement. This was very unsuitable and eventually caused her stoma to be flush. By chance, through a newspaper article, she learned of Mr. Irving Botvin of the Torbot Company in Rhode Island. Irving, an ostomate and a tool and die maker, started making discs and pouches in his basement. She went to Rhode Island where he made a special disc of deep convecity with a bar across the bottom and the top. The first year, she had to fly to Rhode Island three times for further fittings. Gerry felt these considerable expenses should be deducted under the Income Tax Act. When they were rejected, she wrote personnally to the Minister of Finance explaining her situation. Her request was granted, ostomy expenses would be allowed, along with the travel to Rhode Island. Because of her action with Revenue Canada, ‘ostomy prothesis’ were added to income tax claims until the format changed allowing a blanket 3% medical expenses. Before ostomy chapters came into being in Nova Scotia in 1972, her surgeon often requested Gerry visit patients throughout the province – which she did at her own expense. When she learned of ostomy chapters being formed, would not entertain joining as she had had her surgery for many years, was comfortable with her Torbot appliance, in her own words, ‘felt she knew everything’. Finally, in 1977, Gerry did come to a meeting. To her amazement she saw people whom she had no idea had an ostomy. Also, when she saw all the available appliances, decided that after all, ‘she didn’t know everything!’ Before long before Gerry was very involved with the chapter and totally committed. She has attended many UOA Annual and Regional Conferences at her own expense, but her main interest for some years has been as Coordinator of the Chapter Visiting Program. Her Visiting Seminars have attracted members from outlying chapter members as far away as Prince Edward Island. Gerry has never learned to say no to any chapter project and is always very willing to lend a helping hand. Gerry is chapter representative on the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center (amalgamation of the four Halifax hospitals) Volunteer Council and makes sure that the chapter’s interests are well known. A busy volunteer at the QE II where she does patient feeding, fund raiser for the QE II Burn Unit and many special projects, the IWK/Grace Children’s Hospital, and also very involved with her church. Figure skating is one of her main loves and was a volunteer at the World Figure Skating in Halifax and with Skate Canada in Halifax and Moncton. Until she retired, Gerry was a Secretary at City Hall for the City of Halifax for many years. She often says, ‘I’m glad now that I had my ostomy because I’ve made so many good friends that I otherwise would never have met and travelled to places that I could ever have imagined’.



Greg O’Hara – Saint John Chapter

Greg O’Hara is a very special man, to whom we – the members of the Saint John Ostomy Chapter – owe a debt of gratitude, as Greg started our chapter. Now ninety years old, Greg had his colostomy surgery in 1958. At the time he was married with one son and working for the C.P.R. He and his wife now have three grown children. At the time, little information was available on ostomy care. His big problem was with excoriated skin and through trial and error, finally got relief by making a paste with Amphigel and Karaya Gum Powder. Someone then told him about plastic bags being available from Poly-Cello. He did have a rubber disc which he managed to stick to his skin with surgical cement, attaching the pouch to the disc with an elastic. This he wore until 1988 when he purchased his first colostomy pouch. Greg worked for three years to start an ostomy group in the area. along with Dr. Creamer and Ruth Greene. Ruth later became the first ET in Saint John. Contacting UOA Inc, they were informed that at least six members were needed to form an association. In l966 they received their charter as a fully affiliated chapter with Greg serving as president from 1966 to 1968. Assisting this young group was the local Cancer Society who helped print their newsletter. Also, they received a small government grant and purchased a typewriter with some of the money. Saint John New Brunswick Chapter was the first UOA chapter established within the four Atlantic Provinces. Greg is still an active participant at every meeting, conference and dinner. So, to Greg O’Hara, we say a special ‘thank you’ for being such an inspiration and encouragement to us all and we sincerely appreciate your tremendous efforts on our behalf. (Trina Davidson, Saint John Chapter)



Mary Bigelow – Ostomy Toronto Chapter

As you read this, you will find Mary Bigelow to be a very special lady. Mary had her ileostomy on January 10, 1978 and due to many complications she was put on TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition). After spending 13 months in the hospital she was finally discharged. Little did we know when Mary became a member of Ostomy Toronto in 1979 (then called the Ileostomy Association) what a “pot of gold ” she would turn out to be For sure, no fool’s gold! In 1980 Mary joined the executive, serving as secretary and as it became apparent she had good computer skills, she became bulletin editor. Mary is still serving in these posts. In addition Mary served as president from 1984 to 1990. Through all her health problems, her dedication to Ostomy Toronto and with family obligations, Mary still managed to hold down a full time job. She worked at Kellog’s for 33 years. Until the chapter was able to purchase a computer, Mary would spend lunch hours and stay after work putting the bulletin together every month. At the same time Mary was also secretary for the TPN Association. In October, 1993, Mary was faced with another major medical challenge when she was hit with the news she had lung cancer. On November 2, she had her left lung removed. Just like the old saying “pick yourself up and brush yourself off, start all over again” Mary hardly faltered. The bulletins were always ready to be mailed out on time. When Mary’s husband passed away suddenly, it was not her nature to feel sorry for herself. Once again she rose to the challenge, never letting Ostomy Toronto down. Now you would think Mary might be ready to slow down, but she doesn’t know the meaning of those words! She is busier than ever working on the bulletin, as we now do our own printing. Mary is spending many hours working in the office of UOA of Canada Inc. helping Les Kehoe to organize the office. To date Mary has put in over 140 hours working at the office voluntarily. If we were to go back to 1980, I wonder how many hours that would add up to! Reading this you might think Mary was a very placid person, wrong! One thing Mary is not afraid to do is speak her mind. We have had some pretty lively executive meetings! I also know she has given a few doctors some words of wisdom. I would like to say on a personal note, Mary is a great inspiration to me and a “best friend” anyone could ever wish for. I think without doubt Mary Bigelow is a true “unsung hero”. Bravo Mary! (Dianne Morgan, Past President, Ostomy Toronto)



Dianne Garde – Ostomy Toronto Chapter

In 1970 after several surgeries at an outlying hospital I was transferred to Toronto General Hospital in very bad shape. One of the first people whom I came in contact was the ET at the hospital, Dianne Garde. She would come into my room, grab my toe and try to make me feel better which was no easy task as I was a very bad patient. I was in the hospital for many months and over this period of time got to appreciate, and be very thankful for everything that Dianne did for me, as she went far beyond the call of duty. Dianne had her initial ileostomy surgery in 1959. There was absolutely nobody around to help her, as she became the first ET in Ontario 10 years later in 1969, only the third ET in all of Canada. She took her training at the Cleveland Clinic, returned to Toronto and started working as Toronto General’s first ET. She saw all comers at a Clinic in the hospital. A member of Ostomy Toronto said she called Dianne after her surgery in 1970, left a message and was startled when her call was returned immediately. She made an appointment where Dianne helped her change from the old rubber hot water bottle type appliance with belts, cement, etc., into a much lighter and easier to manage appliance. She returned home a whole new person from the help she had received and gives Dianne the credit for giving her a better quality of life. Dianne worked at the hospital until 1992. She now does consultation work for Social Services and Nursing Homes and also at Starkman Surgical Supply, where her husband of 35 years, Jim, is General Manager. She joined the Toronto Ileostomy Association and served as Secretary from 1962 until 1969, became the ET Adviser in 1970 and still holds that post. Dianne also joined the Toronto Colostomy Association when it formed in 1972 as she felt as an ET, it should be supported. She is also a member of other ostomy associations in the Greater Toronto Area. When both Associations amalgamated in 1982, Dianne was there to help us all the way and without her, is doubtful it could have been accomplished. In 1990, Dianne was presented with the CAET President’s Award for her services as an Enterostomal Therapist. She was also given an award by ConvaTec in 1992 for her outstanding contribution to Enterostomal Therapy. Dianne was on the Planning Committee for the UOA Inc. Annual Conferences held in Toronto in 1975 and 1986 and chaired the Regional Conference in 1980. On the ET side of things she helped plan the International ET Conference in 1975, the CAET Conference in 1982 and the World ET Conference in 1990. She and her husband Jim are very active members in their church and have two delightful granddaughters whom they both adore. Jim has been a most supportive partner for Dianne over the years and has always travelled with her to Ostomy and ET functions. One of Dianne’s hobbies is knitting and seldom without it. For UOA of Canada’s 1996 World Ostomy Day celebrations held in Mount Sinai which she had organized, she knit two beautiful Aran sweaters for door prizes. I want to state on behalf of Ostomy Toronto, without Dianne Garde there would be no association. She is at almost every meeting, is always ready to answer any questions and help anyone who needs her. I sincerely hope that we have Dianne around for a good many years to come. (Mary Bigelow, Secretary, Ostomy Toronto)



Paul E. Meise – Okanagan Mainline Chapter

I first met Paul in the spring of 1987, shortly after having my own ostomy surgery, when he spoke at a visitor training session in Prince George in his capacity as Provincial Rep. Since retiring to the Okanagan in 1989 I have come to know Paul and to appreciate those qualities which make him an “Unsung Hero”. Paul first ran into health problems when he was only 7 years of age, when he spent 9 months in hospital. In the next 3 years he was in and out of hospital on numerous occasions until in 1966 he was given a permanent urostomy (ileal conduit). This was early days for that type of surgery, and of course, no E.T.’s! so Paul, at the tender age of 11, was very much on his own when it came to learning to manage his ostomy. Learn he did, and conquered, and so back to school and a “normal” schoolboy life. He tells of “interesting” incidents when he moved up to senior school and started Phys.Ed. and using a communal shower! He did not become involved with UOA until, in 1972 when the Okanagan chapter was formed, he became a member and attended his first meeting. Since then he has served in various capacities on the chapter executive, newsletter editor (82/83), President (84/85/86) and (95/96/97) , and has always been active in the chapters visiting program. From 1986 to 1989 he served as the Provincial Representative for the North Western Region of UOA. Paul was also a member of the initial planning committee for the development of the first Canadian Youth Ostomy Camp, and thereafter an active participant in the camp program from 1985 to 1994 as a counselor. Paul’s other community activities include 8 years on the board of the Kelowna Regatta (2 years as chairman), Chairman of the local chapter of the Canadian Red Cross (89/90), board member of the Chamber of Commerce and, currently, board member of the People in Motion Society and chairman of the Home Medical Equipment Dealers Association. Paul has worked since school at several jobs including playing guitar in a band and being a DJ (in his younger years), but mostly in sales at several drug stores culminating in running the ostomy supplies department of a large retail pharmacy. In 1991 Paul established his own business in the medical supplies field, which he and his wife Carol operate very successfully. Paul has been married 17 years and has two children. His hobbies include music, camping, canoeing and fishing (when he has time from his busy schedule!). He still harbors an ambition to become an RNET, but finds it difficult to break away from his busy life with the store and with raising a young family, to go back to college. {Submitted by Leslie Davis, Newsletter Editor, Okanagan Mainline Chapter)



Russell Adams – Truro Nova Scotia Chapter

I am a member of the Truro Ostomy Association where I met many wonderful people. One in particular I’d like to tell you about is Russell Adams. I’ll never forget the first day I met Russell. He was sitting at the end of a long table where the other executives were seated. When it came time for the Treasurer’s report, Russell picked up his well-worn satchel and took out appropriate papers. Not until I heard his report and saw how organized he was with other contents (receipts, etc. ) did I realize how capable this man with the well worn old satchel could be. I later learned that Russell had joined the group in 1982 soon after undergoing colostomy surgery and shortly after was asked to be its Treasurer. Since he had some knowledge of bookkeeping and finances after doing the same in the army, he accepted the position for a term. To this day, Russell is still Treasurer of our group. When asked about some financial statement, no matter how back it goes, he will dig into his trusty satchel and come up with it on the spot. Russell served overseas during the Second World War and was a member of the West Nova Scotia Regiment. Returning to ‘civvy’ street, Russell’s employment took him from being a stationary engineer, to head of a construction crew and then his own lime supply business before retirment. He can be seen helping out on Ostomy Day and every fundraiser for our group whether it be a bake sale at the Mall or an early morning in a cold arena taking his turn at a Garage Sale. He and his loving wife of 21 years, Emmeline, have donated Christmas cakes for fund raisers to the Truro Chapter for many years. Russell and Emmeline have travelled to other chapters where they enjoy meeting and joining other people with ostomies. In his spare time, Russell loves to garden. He has been in failing health for a year now but insists on staying involved with the group. He is very excited about our chapter being a part of the newly formed United Ostomy Association of Canada Inc. He took it upon himself to do the chapter listings for the UOA of Canada Inc – can you just imagine all the phone calls he had to make to check out the correct addresses, etc. An undertaking to say the least was no small task. I am proud and fortunate to know such a dedicated and fine person. (Respectfully submitted, Bernice MacPherson, Truro Chapter member.) (Russell Adams passed away in March, 1998)



Mike Surette – South West (Yarmouth) Nova Scotia Chapter

Besides his work with the local chapter, Mike has been involved with numerous organizations for many years – almost more than he can remember. Mike was born on a small (3 x 4 miles) island off the coast from Yarmouth. Surette’s Island, where Mike grew up had a vibrant French community, and although fluently bilingual, his first language is, of course, French. After serving in WW II for five years, most of the time spent as a Wireless Air Gunner for Bomber Command, he returned to Nova Scotia. Because of his radio experience, became a radio operator with Transport Canada and was with them for 33 years. Much of the time was spent in the Light Ship off Yarmouth and icebreaking up north. He did make two special northern tours, one through the Hudson Strait and the other in the Northwest Territories off Resolution Island. In 1981 he took his retirement so he could spend time with his favourite hobbies, golf, fishing and volunteering. Mike is on the Board of the V.O.N., Past President of the Legion Branch in Wedgeport, Past District Governor of the Lion’s Club and has been a member for 46 years, and still very involved with these groups. His colostomy was performed in September, 1982 and within the year, joined the local chapter. He was elected President in 1985 and has continued in that position except for a break of 3-1/2 years. With an active chapter visiting program, Mike works closely with the Visiting Chair Annette Weidenfeld promoting the program within the local medical system. Whenever there is an ostomy event being promoted by a local chapter within driving distance, Mike is sure to be there. Mike and his wife Irene, married 45 years with a grown daughter and grandchildren living in the area, is his biggest supporter within the ostomy family. (Mike Surette passed away on November 7, 1998 after a long and courageous battle with cancer)



Dorothy Skinner – Victoria British Colombia Chapter

Dorothy Skinner was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (as Dorothy Burford) in a secret year. After finishing school in Manitoba, she found employment with the Government in the Department of Vital Statistics. When World War II came along, Dorothy enlisted in the CWAC’s (Canadian Women’s Army Corps) serving as Secretary to the Officer Commanding, Royal Canadian Dental Corps and in Army Accounting. In 1948, after marrying Patrick Skinner, they moved to Victoria in search of a better lifestyle. They started their own letter service business called Holland’s Letter service, later Adamio/Skinner. It was in this field that Dorothy learned the printing and publishing skills that are with her to this day. Following ileostomy surgery in December 1976, she joined the Victoria Chapter, and shortly after took on the duties as Secretary. This was quickly followed by offering to look after the printing of the monthly newsletter. She still provides the chapter with printed raffle tickets, Christmas luncheon tickets and the miscellaneous printing jobs that every chapter encounters. She is renowned for her promptness and professional accuracy. Thanks to her charm and winsome personality, she has been able to recruit a non UOA couple to help her with stapling, folding and stuffing our five-page newsletter for each issue. Now widowed, Dorothy shares her home with a furry bundle of energy in a small but vocal package called “Jackman” and are great pals. She and Patrick had two boys, Jim and Robert, the latter now living in England. We in the Victoria chapter feel particularly favoured to have Dorothy with her printing expertise. She is the busiest person at every meeting in her capacity as Tea Hostess, keeping her ever-changing assistants on the job. Our gratitude to her and her quiet but enthusiastic participation in the affairs of the chapter over such a long period make us realize that not all Hall of Famers are internationally known but live right beside us, not seeking recognition, but as worthy as any star of sport or entertainment. She is a jewel of great value.(Jay Fox,Editor, Island Ostomy News, Victoria Chapter)



Katja Dietz RN, ET – Saskatoon Saskatchewan Chapter

There is very little in enterostomal therapy Katja Dietz has not either pioneered or promoted in her long and extremely successful nursing career. Katja was named Saskatoon’s Citizen of the Year in 1983, but to her patients and friends Katja is the citizen of a lifetime for her help, encouragement and loving care. With the encouragement of Dr. Fred Inglis, Katja, in 1974, undertook Enterostomal Therapist training in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On her return, Katja worked very closely with cancer patients and other ostomy patients, and her care often extended to anxious spouses. Katja maintains close contact with many of her early patients, some of whom attended the first meeting of the Saskatoon Ostomy Association with Katja. Katja found a friend and ally in Norm Faulkner of Nordon Drugs. With Norm’s assistance and the cooperation of the major manufacturers of ostomy supplies, Katja travelled in much of central and northern Saskatchewan with a suitcase filled with whatever she thought might help a patient. The driver on many of these trips: her ever supportive husband, Edward. When asked what was most important to her career as an E.T., Katja replies, “Visitation was the backbone. And Norm Faulkner.”Katja retired from nursing in 1985 but has remained an active supporter of the Ostomy Association, continuing to coordinate the visitation program despite recent health problems. Typically, a message from Katja on your answering machine requesting assistance with a visit, ends with the same cheery closing: “Have a sunny day.” How appropriate from a woman who has brought sunshine to ostomates for almost 25 years. An added note: Katja and Edward came to Canada in 1954 and subsequently had a son and now also enjoy their grandson. Katja is still recovering from quite a serious bout of congestive heart trouble although she insists on continuing as our Visitation Chairperson. (Trish McCormick, Vice President u0026amp; Editor, Saskatoon Chapter) (Katja Dietz passed away on 11 October, 2002)



Joan Williams – Vancouver Chapter

Joan Williams of Vancouver, desperately ill with ulcerative colitis, received an ileostomy in January 0f 1972, before there were any E.T.’s in the city. The Vancouver chapter of UOA supplied a visitor to Joan in hospital, and also helpful literature. Having been relieved of the diseased tissue in her body, Joan recovered quickly, and adapted easily to life with an ostomy. It became just a minor nuisance to her. Like many ostomates, she has never had an attitude of “Why me?” or “Poor me!”, but rather “Lucky me, I’ve had a new chance at life.” Having received important help from the Vancouver chapter, Joan felt she wanted to repay this very worthwhile organization by helping out in any way she could to assist future ostomates. Quite shy and diffident at that time, she tended to avoid the limelight. Although she never went beyond the chapter level, she has served the Vancouver chapter in many ways during the past 26 years. At first she helped out with refreshments at the monthly meetings, then later managed the chapter’s library of ostomy literature for many years. She edited the chapter newsletter for a short time when nobody else would do so. Joan has been a frequent and effective visitor, and acted as visiting coordinator for several years. She was one of a team, and later led the team of three ostomates, who regularly were invited to speak to classes at local nursing schools to describe what it is like to live with an ostomy, and answer the many questions from nursing students. At the successful 1980 UOA Conference in Vancouver, Joan co-chaired the Hospitality Committee. She has also represented the chapter at ten national conferences and numerous other provincial, regional and other conferences, most often at her own expense. She has organized several of the chapter’s Christmas parties, has frequently acted as the the chapter secretary, and has always been available to fill in wherever help was needed. Joan is indeed an Unsung Hero!



Agnes Parisloff – Regina Chapter

Agnes has been involved with the Regina Ostomy Association for nineteen years. Her fellow members describe her as very giving of her time and talents; she’s very generous and she’s very committed to helping others, especially those who can’t help themselves. This care and concern is demonstrated not only through the Ostomy Association but the many other volunteer organizations she is involved with including the Catholic Women’s League, Canadian Diabetes Association and Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Agnes has held many positions within the Regina Ostomy Association and is currently co-president. She is also a committed visitor for the chapter as she remembers the impact her visitor had on her prior to surgery.

Agnes was recently named Woman of the Year by the Regina Queen City Kinettes. The award recognizes women that make a contribution in a volunteer capacity to enhance the lives of a member or organization of the special needs community or the special needs community as a whole.

Congratulations from all of us Agnes!



Helen Pries – Saskatoon Saskatchewan Chapter

Helen was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Canada via South America with her grandmother, parents and six brothers and sisters, arriving in Saskatoon in 1953. Here Helen met and married Jake Pries, a young man who had attended the same school in Ukraine when Helen was still there. Helen and Jake settled down to married life and raising three sons. In 1979 Helen was diagnosed with cancer and underwent urostomy surgery. Three weeks after surgery she took on membership for the Saskatoon Ostomy Association, a position she held for almost twenty years. Helen also chaired the Friendship and Social Committee over the years. A frequent visitor for our association Helen loves to show people life can be great after cancer and ostomy surgery. Local urologists often call Helen to arrange pre-surgical “chats” with anxious patients.

Helen is a living example of a full life. She continues to love gardening, camping and anything out of doors. She also loves to cook, crochet and sew. She and Jake travel frequently from Ontario to B.C. to visit their 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Currently they are planning a 96th birthday for Helen’s mother and looking forward to yet another great grandchild. Helen’s hard work and dedication to the Saskatoon Ostomy Association has been remarkable. When told we were nominating her for an Unsung Hero Award her response was characteristic of her:”Everyone is a hero.”



Barbara Guy – Calgary Alberta Chapter

Barbara Guy had ostomy surgery in December of 1984. She attended her first meeting with the Calgary Ostomy Society in February 1985 and has been a member and hard worker ever since. Come rain or shine Barbara is always in attendance at the monthly meeting ready with coffee, juice and lots of baked goodies. Most of the time she does the baking herself and brings it to the meeting without being asked. She never asks for compensation or help to lighten the load just continues to do the job that provides comfort and a social atmosphere for all who attend. We all count on her to provide the service she has been volunteering for for more than 10 years.

In addition to the job of coffee attendant she has held the position of vice-president and corresponding secretary within the chapter. She has also been an active visitor in all the hospitals in Calgary and can always be counted on to visit a person in need.

Outside the ostomy community Barbara has been a volunteer in the Calgary community for a number of years as well. She volunteers with the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured for six years. She was a valued Zone Captain and avid canvasser for the Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Salvation Army just to mention a few.

Its hard working people like Barbara who do their job without hesitation, complaint and with a smile that make a chapter functional and successful. All of us in the Calgary chapter value her contribution and are very proud of her. Thank you Barbara!



Bridget Peters – Cape Breton Nova Scotia Chapter

Bridget had ileostomy surgery October of 1983 and has been an active member of the Cape Breton Nova Scotia Chapter (New Waterford, N.S.) since January, 1984. She immediately became actively involved in chapter activities as a member of the Tenth Anniversary Committee formed to set up activities for the celebration in June, 1985. From then on she continued to work for the chapter and participate in every activity taken on by the chapter.

Bridget was president of the CBNS Chapter from 1988-1992. In 1992 she became treasurer and still holds this office as there is no one ready to fill the shoes of such a capable treasurer. She has been on the Board of Directors of CBNS Chapter since 1987. At present she is a committee member for CBNS’s twenty-fifth anniversary in 2000.

Besides holding an executive position, Bridget has been a certified visitor and attended all training sessions held in the Cape Breton area. She is a member of the committee for the local World Ostomy Day program and the Annual Ostomy Awareness Day of CBNS Chapter held annually in November. There has not been an activity held by the CBNS Chapter that Bridget has not played a major part. As a fifteen year member, she has not missed more than five chapter meetings. In 1986, Bridget was a delegate at the UOA conference in Toronto. This first time exposure at the national level of UOA activities was a great inspiration for Bridget to continue her work at the chapter level. Since than, she has attended 8 conferences as a delegate. She attended the IOA Conference in Calgary as well as several regional conferences in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and New York state.

Besides her work with CBNS Chapter, she is an involved community member. At present, she is on a committee for a 50′ s and 60’s high school reunion in 2000. She still finds time for her line dancing and skating.

With all this on her agenda, her number one priority is her family, husband Charlie, children Michael and Shelley and five grandchildren. She can be seen at the rink in winter, ball field in summer, and at school activities following three of her grandchildren in New Waterford or travelling to Shilo, Manitoba to visit her other 2 grandchildren. Bridget is certainly our unsung hero!



Linda Warner – Edmonton Alberta Chapter

Linda celebrates 18 1/2 years of living with an ostomy. She says her life moves at a faster pace than when she suffered nine long years with ulcerative colitis. Her ileostomy surgery came sudden after a battle with Toxic Mega Colon.

Linda is a born and raised Edmontonian. For the past 21 years, Linda has been married to Mel Warner. They have one daughter, Hillary who has just entered the field of Emergency Medical Services.

Linda has been a member of the Edmonton chapter for almost as long as she has been an ostomate. She has held positions such as publicity, newsletter, vice-president and president. She was instrumental in introducing the chapters’ major fund raiser, The Blind Auction, held every Christmas. She also led the campaign for introducing paid advertising in their newsletter, as well as selling the Entertainment Books. Linda has chaired and co-chaired the last two World Ostomy Days in Edmonton. She holds the executive position of secretary for the upcoming year and will co-chair the upcoming WOD ’99 in October.

Linda is in charge of registrations for the upcoming conference. She is also leading the session on First Timers at the conference. Linda is a very hard worker for the Edmonton chapter of UOA. Her motto is: “Look at life as a series of miracles unfolding.”



Harold Cochrane – Ottawa Chapter

Harold Cochrane is a Director and the Hospitality Chair for the United Ostomy Support Group, Ottawa. He spent the Second World War years in the Canadian Air Force in England and Holland, taking part in its liberation. He and his wife, Betty, have recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their daughter, Lynn, a psychiatric nurse. Civilian life found Harold working for Defence Research Board as Chief Purchasing Officer and travelling extensively. He retired early.

Harold has undergone eighteen operations which began when he was 38 with a benign growth which was blocking his bladder and progressed to an urostomy in 1990. Harold’s skin was a problem right from the first and leakage a daily occurrence. However, with typical self-effacing patience, he persevered through reparative surgeries until a stubborn hernia and repeated blockages forced him to choose an internal pouch in January, 1998. He valve failed and leg bags, dressings and catheters which have to be drained every 2-3 hours became necessary. Because of recurrent infections, Harold must take maintenance antibiotics. A permanent catheter was placed in January of this year and more surgery to once more try to repair the valve took place in May.

One would think that all of these trials would have produced a bitter man. Not on your life. Harold’s patience, kindness and courage are an inspiration to all who know him. And despite so much illness, he has found time to be a ‘Meals-on-Wheels’ volunteer for twenty years. He joined UOSG immediately after ostomy surgery and despite many illnesses, has been a very active visitor, has taken part in three health fairs and many booths for selling raffle tickets; takes part in all fund-raising events; attended UOA of Canada’s Inaugural Conference and also the Conference in Edmonton. Through all of this, Betty has been a tower of strength.

When asked what he thought about a urostomy, Harold said, “Urostomy’s are a blessing for almost everyone. I was just unlucky. The next operation should do the trick.” A true Unsung Hero!



Betty Fouchard – Ottawa Chapter

Betty Fouchard is one of those quiet ladies who work tirelessly in the background of many organizations, getting little notice and asking for none.

Born near Windsor on the Thames, England, Betty worked for three years during the Second World War for Fighter Command in the Operations room of the aerodrome at Beacon Hill, England. She plotted from radar to help R.A.F. fighters. She came to Canada in 1946 as a British war bride.

Betty has been an exceptionally active member of United Ostomy Support Group, Ottawa, Inc. for more than 20 years. Though not an ostomate herself, she has joined her husband, George (another active member), in making ostomates well-being a priority in her life.

Besides raising four children and overseeing the happiness of 14 grandchildren, Betty has found time to act as Membership Chair for 17 years and still occupies that position. She attended the Halifax Conference and helped in setting up the first Pembroke Satellite. She has also helped George as Assistant Treasurer. When money was to be raised, Betty was there with her wonderful crafts, i.e., satin swans and beautiful dolls. She took part also in the painstaking task of building and raffling two completely furnished and peopled Victorian dollhouses. Everyone know that, if there is a fund-raising event, Betty will help and contribute.

As Social Convenor, Betty has acted as hostess, opening her home to our membership for the annual picnic on many, many occasions. Look in the kitchen at the general meetings or the Christmas party, and Betty is there quietly making things work. Never any fuss, just efficiency and kindness. Newsletter assembly and mailing have been done just as anonymously and well for 12 years with personal delivery to hospitals. If we need a volunteer driver or an information book worker, Betty is there.

Betty is the stuff of which unsung heroes are made.



Estelle Bennett – Ottawa Chapter

Born in London, England, Estelle came to Montreal, Canada in 1966. She moved to Ottawa after a year and opened a florist shop in 1984. Estelle also worked as a Brownie leader.

She had her ileostomy surgery in 1991 and quickly became a member of United Ostomy Support Group, Ottawa, Inc. after talking with a Visitor. She has repaid that Visitor’s help a hundredfold.

Estelle began in the kitchen at meetings like many others, not suspecting that she was being secretly groomed for more responsibility. Social Convenor came first, then Librarian and Vice President, six-year Director of U.O.S.G., and member of U.O.A.C. Visiting Committee, and finally Acting President, all done well. But where Estelle really shines is in her empathy with the new or soon-to-be ostomate, her sensitivity to their feelings and her genuine concern for them as human beings. As Visiting Coordinator for four years, she has found her niche, and on the hotline, she has helped many, many unhappy and sometimes desperate people with her wisdom and that soothing British voice. Estelle is everybody’s mother and confidante.

A talented poet, Estelle has contributed to the Ottawa Ostomy News and Ostomy Quarterly. She is always available to man information booths, for fund-raising events, picnics, parties, raffles and has represented U.O.S.G. as speaker both at Riverside Hospital and Algonquin College. She attended U.O.A.C.’s Inaugural Conference and led the Ottawa Chapter Visitor Training Sessions on two occasions. Her husband, Les, and daughter, Janice, can attest to the fact that she is good at finding volunteers for many jobs.

In Estelle’s words, “I feel that if you help only one ostomate at each general meeting or on the hotline, you and the organization are a success. No one wants to have ostomy surgery, but because of my ileostomy, I have met many wonderful people who have become friends.” A true unsung hero.


Unsung Heroes (2000-2004)

Ruth WillisMetro Halifax ChapterApril, 2000
Dan MorrisonOttawa ChapterJune, 2000
Jean HumphreysMetro Halifax ChapterSeptember, 2000
George PuhlVancouver ChapterNovember/December, 2000
Solange CorbeilMontreal Ileostomy/Colostomy ChapterMarch/April, 2001
Judy WoodsFredricton & District ChapterJune, 2001
Huguette Levesque, ETOttawa ChapterSeptember, 2001
Alfred PettipasMetro Halifax ChapterJanuary, 2002
** Burleigh WileMetro Halifax ChapterApril, 2002
Debbie LalondeOttawa ChapterMay, 2002
Mike and Betty WoolridgeMetro Halifax ChapterMarch, 2003
Bernice RichardsMetro Halifax ChapterMay, 2003
** Astrid GrahamOttawa Support GroupJune, 2003
Doug GrahamOttawa Support GroupJune 2003
Alf KeatingSaskatoon Ostomy AssociationJune, 2003
Charlie BairdMetro Halifax ChapterMarch, 2004
Ken ZomerOttawa ChapterMay, 2004
** Minerva HoltonMoncton ChapterMay, 2004
** Muriel KinnearOstomy Toronto ChapterJune, 2004
Tala Al-AwaidMetro Halifax ChapterDecember, 2004
** Deceased





Ruth Willis – Metro Halifax Nova Scotia Chapter

Although Ruth considers herself a Maritimer, she was born in Toronto but only a month old when her parents moved to Halifax.

Before and after her marriage, she worked in the Halifax office of Imperial Oil for 7 years where she acquired her clerical and accounting skills. In 1951, Ruth married Ralph, and eventually became parents of two daughters, Deborah and Susan, and now she is a grandmother of three.

Ralph became ill in 1962 with cancer of the postate which affected bladder control. In the interim between 1962 and 1979, various procedures were tried to improve the bladder control but all failed. So, in 1979 it was decided that he should undergo urostomy surgery to try and bring relief from infections, etc. often requiring hospitalization.

Ralph had his surgery in September of 1979 and joined the chapter in February, 1980. Ralph, being a musician entertained members on the organ that was in the meeting area before and after the meetings. It was in December of 1980 – in Ruth’s words – she inquired of the then present Treasurer, who had expressed the desire to give up the position he had held for 9 years, just what was involved. “Before I left the meeting, I had the books”!

Ruth held the Treasurer’s position for 10 years and during that period she was also Chair of the Telephone Committee with 10 callers under her direction, plus she assisted the Refreshment Committee. So, she was a busy lady.

Ralph passed away in 1985, but Ruth’s involvement with the chapter never diminished. In 1990 she relinquished the position of Treasurer, but accepted the Chair of Membership.

Although her main interest has been with the Metro Halifax chapter, she was just as interested and concerned with the welfare of outlying chapters, travelling with the members to visit them on innumerable occasions.

When Les Kehoe, then Executive Director of the National Office was setting up the memberships, both Ruth and Treasurer Jean Humphreys were often in contact with ideas and suggestions for setting up the original scheme.

This lady keeps busy with many other activities, e.g. Ruth is very involved with her local Cancer Society and their unit of 22 members raised $65,000 in 1999. Ruth is also in the Senior’s Leisure Club in Bedford and was on their Board of Directors, a member of the Heritage Society, a bowler and a ‘mean bridge player’.

Ruth’s involvement with the chapter and her constant loyalty and support is so appreciated and a sterling example of a true volunteerism spirit.




Dan Morrison – Ottawa Ontario Chapter

A young New Zealander Scientific Officer with Auckland’s Government Analyst Department of Scientific u0026amp; Industrial Research, Dan Morrison, came to Canada in 1965 – after a short teaching sojourn in England – where he met and married Elisabeth, a lovely young Swiss Canadian. Dan spent the next thirty years teaching and devoting his time and energy to causes dear to his heart. Between positions as Chemistry teacher in Petrolia, Ontario and Chemistry Master at Algonquin College in the biochemical and chemical technology programs, he devoted himself to his family, the Humanist Association of Canada, NDP Riding Association, Operation Dismantle, the Ottawa Peace u0026amp; Environment Resource and the Unitarian Church. All of these were volunteer nonprofit groups.

In 1972, Dan underwent colostomy surgery for cancer. He immediately began a labour of love, visiting and helping others who were facing ostomy surgery. This led to a long and varied career in the Ottawa Chapter of U.O.A. He has held, often more than once, every position on the executive of the group. His keen intelligence, attention to detail and ability to get to the heart of every problem and suggest a solution have been invaluable. His first love was editing the newsletter. He said his proudest achievement was chairing the bilingual UOA Conference (CAPITAL CARE) here in Ottawa in 1981. He says he is a bit of a loner, but his companions know, a loner with a deeply felt social conscience and compassion for his fellow human beings. His wife, Elisabeth, too, spent many years working for the ostomy group most often as Membership Officer.

In 1992, Dan was involved in an accident which left him with double vision and with a broken back among other serious injuries. Then came difficult years of healing and operations mostly successful; however, he still cannot stand for more than ten minutes at a time. Through all this, his courage has been an example to his friends at U.O.S.G. And he remains an active Director and, in his words, “a grandfather figure,” to the rest of us. Dan can always be counted upon to interject exactly the right idea or observation when the rest of us are floundering.

When asked what his dreams and hopes for U.O.S.G.’s future are he said: “We must maintain a connection or a presence in every hospital that does ostomy surgery. Regular contact and reaching each individual ostomate is of primary importance. We should find bigger and more reliable sources of donations so that valuable people wouldn’t have to spend so much time on fund raising.”

Asked for more detail, he put his goals for U.O.S.G. in the following order:

Newsletter. Our primary connection with ostomates.
Visiting. The importance of this cannot be expressed too often.
Monthly meetings with their important personal contacts and education.
Library. Literature.
Youth Camp.
Fund raising.
Conferences. Whose main value is to new leaders learning about UOAC.

Wise words from a wise man who has dedicated himself to ostomates for twenty-eight years. A true Unsung Hero!




Jean Humphreys – Metro Halifax Chapter

It took Jean Humphreys a few months after having an ileostomy in 1987 to become active in the Halifax chapter of the Canadian Ostomy Association but when she did, there was no stopping her voluntary enthusiasm.

The Halifax woman, born and brought up on a farm in Greenvale, near New Glasgow, earned her elementary, junior and senior high school education in a one-room schoolhouse, attended business college in New Glasgow and Halifax, and, on graduation, worked for various firms in Halifax. She finally retired from “real” work at University of King’s College in 1990 but that just pushed her harder into volunteer efforts.

Her IBD problems began in 1982 and escalated until, with the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, she underwent surgery for an ileostomy in 1987. A hospital visit was of great help and, in July, 1988, Jean joined the chapter. A year later, she was secretary. In 1991, she replaced Ruth Willis (‘Unsung Hero’, April 2000), as treasurer. She still controls the books today. The spirited Jean has only missed one meeting since joining the chapter, that because of a brief hospitalization for suspected, but unproven, heart problems.

The Halifax Stroke Club asked her to be treasurer in 1992, a position she gladly accepted and held until January 2000. Jean volunteered to look after the Halifax Ostomy chapter’s grocery store tape program. Each month, she counts at least two well-filled grocery bags of donated tapes, helping the chapter add $600 to $700 a year to its funds. Jean, always the money lady, has served as treasurer of her local church for a number of years.

For relaxation, Jean bowls in a Ladies League and, surprise, was their treasurer until 1997 when brochitis forced her to reduce her volunteer activity.

But work for the Ostomy Association and her love of gardening keep her busy today. Last year, she had so many raspberries, neighbors enjoyed the bountiful supply. (Joel Jacobsen)




George Puhl – Vancouver British Colombia Chapter

Already a member of the Vancouver chapter’s Hall Of Fame, George Puhl has been our General Meeting Host since joining our Chapter on April 13, 1974. Still going strong at age 85, George and his wife Vi, who has been looking after refreshments, have been stalwart supporters and an integral part of the nucleus of the Vancouver Chapter for 26 years.

He had his ileostomy in 1973 for ulcerative colitis and joined the chapter the following year. Since April of 1974, George and Vi have faithfully attended almost every single meeting. Along with his General Meeting Host duties, he is Chairman of the Memorial Fund Committee, a position he has held for many years. In the former position, George cheerfully greets newcomers and established members, putting them at ease and answering their questions. He has also willingly pitched in on many other tasks whenever called upon. One very large and important job in itself was during the UOA Inc. 1980 Annual Conference when he was in charge of all the audio and visual requirements.

George’s life long hobby is a radio ham operator and through this medium has made friends all over the world.

I want to thank George and Vi for their dedicated service to our Chapter and know that all our members join me in expressing our appreciation for George’s efforts and in honouring him with the Unsung Hero Award. Congratulations George !! (Editor Fred Green)




Solange Corbeil – Montreal Ileostomy u0026amp; Colostomy Chapter

‘Look Good – Feel Better’ program of the Canadian Cancer Society abounds in volunteers whose devotion and solicitude exceeds the limits. All deserve a reward. It is therefore understandable why there is great difficulty in choosing one person. This year, the award recipient, is Mrs. Solange Corbeil, team leader of the Look Good – Feel Better program in the Montreal, Quebec area.

Her strong dedication to workshops in this program is most commendable and deserves recognition. Solange has stated that her career with the Mary Kay Cosmetics Company provided her with first hand insight into the importance of looking good to feel good. ‘When I see the patient arriving at the workshops so sad and hopeless, and after participating, leaving with such happy hearts, saying, “this is the most gratifying thing that has happened to me since my diagnosis.” You have no idea how good this makes me feel. These people are so marvelous and my reward is seeing their happiness, it fills me with love and gratification.’ When someone very close to us has cancer, one becomes far more sensitive to their problems. My contribution of two hours per month seems so minimal and brings me such personal growth and enrichment. I am very proud to be with the Look Good – Feel Better program.’

Solange and Fernand Corbeil both joined the Montreal Ileostomy Colostomy chapter in 1993 shortly after Fernand had a colostomy. The following May, Fernand was elected president and along with that responsibility, they both took on providing for the nutritional break.

In 1995 saw them accepting the telephone committee chair whose task is to contact members prior to the meeting. If that didn’t keep them busy enough, in 1996 they coordinated the visiting program.

Since the death of her husband Solange has continued with the telephone and visiting committee.

Every month, she always arrives one hour before the meeting, and makes the new ostomates and visitors welcome. She also takes it upon herself to contact them later to learn whether they enjoyed the meeting and intend to return.

During the Annual Conference in Montreal, she was one of the hostesses welcoming delegates and visitors.

On behalf of all ICAM members, we are most grateful to Solange for her devotion and loyalty to the chapter.(Jean-Pierre Lapointe)




Judy Woods – Fredricton u0026amp; District Chapter

JUDY WOODS had her first of several operations when she was only a few days old (born in 1949) and that was to close an opening in her spine. In the next few years, Judy had more operations with the result that she was five years old before she was able to walk, and was nine years old when she was able to start school.

Medical problems continued to plague Judy, and in 1960, at the age of eleven, she had a urostomy operation. Dr. George Bonnell performed that operation which was the first recorded in New Brunswick. Judy still remembers vividly the many visits that she had from interested doctors and nurses, all wanting to see her stoma, and the attached “bag” or appliance which was indeed quite uncomfortable and very primitive by today’s standards.

When Judy was sixteen years old, she noticed a write-up in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner that an ostomy chapter was being organized by Dr. H.M. MacSween and Joan Trainor. Judy attended that first meeting of what was to become the Fredericton and District Chapter of the UOAC.

Her problems were not all solved yet, and in 1984 she had a colostomy operation. Judy continued her membership in the local Chapter, not only as an interested ostomate, but served as Vice President, President, Librarian, News Letter editor, program facilitator, help-line respondent, publicity chairperson, and an ostomy visitor. Judy is now Program Chairperson, and also operates the Chapters Ostomy Help-Line from her home handling inquiries from not only the Fredericton region, but indeed from across the Province of New Brunswick.

As one sits back in a comfortable easy-chair, one cannot help but wonder how Judy Woods is able to accomplish so much. Since the Fredericton and District Chapter of the UOA was formed twenty-five years ago, it has grown from three or four members in 1976 to over one hundred members in the year 2001, and Judy has, in one way or another, been involved in every chapter activity and somehow continues to be one of it’s most active members. It is indeed an honour to have Judy Woods as a member of our chapter, and you are indeed a true UNSUNG HERO!!! Written by Cyd Rioux and submitted by Judy Steeves for the Fredericton u0026amp; District Chapter UOAC




Huguette Levesque, ET – Ottawa Chapter

ETs don’t come any better than Huguette Levesque. Since her retirement, her expertise and her kindness are sadly missed by her clients but hopefully she will be a continued, much respected presence in UOSG (United Ostomy Support Group) Ottawa.

Huguette was born in Ottawa and has nursed in Ottawa, Montreal, Syracuse and Isle a la Chasse. In 1978 she became an ostomy nurse for the Victorian Order of Nurses and took her ET degree at St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. Her hobbies are traveling, camping, alpine skiing and seadoing. She has skied in the Laurentians, Sun Valley, Banff and Whistler. Her favourite trips were two ocean trips from North America to Europe. She has explored Europe twice for six month stays. Her favourite countries are Greece and Spain though she thoroughly enjoyed Singapore and Thailand.

A brief summary of her many contributions to UOSG Ottawa:

Huguette has given 14 formal educational presentations for UOSG Ottawa, Inc. She takes part in all fund raising for Canadian Youth Camp and Ottawa Chapter and for the year 2000 found a child to send to camp and made all arrangements with parents and for UOSG. Was on committee for Trillium Grant and New Horizons Grant. Advertised in chapter newsletter. All her new clients received Ottawa Ostomy News, a brochure and an Ottawa Chapter Guide for New Ostomates. Posters etc. were displayed at her office. As many newsletters as our chapter could spare were given to new clients. Huguette has recruited and advised parents and all children sent from Ottawa to Youth Camp and worked as ET at camp for three years, setting up, educating, doing care etc. She yearly formed an ET panel to speak at a UOSG meeting; has lectured often at local college and hospitals to nurses, paramedics, etc. She did not charge for these services or for care given out-of-town patients. Has often mailed chapter contribution to SHARE at her own expense. She acted as liaison between chapter and hospital ETs; got Hollister to donate all posters, pamphlets etc. for past World Ostomy Days. Has been an invaluable source of advice to Visiting Coordinators. Huguette was Treasurer of Canadian Association of Enterostomal Therapists (CAET) for five years and worked on creating an ET School Correspondence Course and was Treasurer for the ET School. As an ex-VON nurse she owned and ran Capital Ostomy Corner. Has been a Director of UOSG Ottawa from its inception. Received the CAET President’s Award in 1999.

Huguette is a self-effacing, selfless woman who worked quietly and tirelessly for the good of all ostomates. In her words, “The greatest gift that I can give is to teach ostomates how to handle their own care and go independently on their way knowing that if they ever need me again, I’ll be there.” She has been there for our chapter for twenty-two years.





Alfred Pettipas – Metro Halifax Chapter

It was in early 1970 that Alfred had his colostomy for a cancerous tumour of the lower bowel. Numerous and very serious complications kept him in hospital for almost 3 months and only in 1983 that Alfred learned about an ostomy group in the Halifax area. He joined almost immediately and the few meetings that he has missed have been health related.

Born in Chezzetcook, a picturesque fishing community on the Eastern Shore near Halifax, Alfred has had varied and interesting occupations, e.g. farmer, construction work, lumberjack, route mailman, and from 1952 for 25 years, manager of a large restaurant.

Although a widower for some years, he is kept busy with siblings, nieces and nephews. As Alfred says, joining the chapter opened many doors and introduced him to so many fine people. His first plane ride was in 1985 when he went with eight members to the UOA Annual Conference in Toronto, expenses being subsidized by the chapter. Since then he has participated with our chapter in supporting ostomy functions at various locations in the Maritimes. During the very successful 1987 UOA Regional Conference hosted by Halifax Chapter, he worked very closely with the then president Tony Goldsmith. Alfred is the official greeter at the meeting and everyone is welcomed with a wonderful cheery smile – and often a hug for the ladies! For the past 8 years he has been one of the team that helps get the monthly newsletter ready for mailing. In addition to assisting with the newsletter mailout, Alfred always stands ready to assist with any large or small challenge for our chapter. The chapter showed its appreciation for Alfred’s dedication at the 25th Anniversary Celebration in 1998 with a presentation of a Certificate of Recognition.

Surely Unsung Hero is another name for Alfred Pettipas.




Burleigh Wile – Metro Halifax Chapter

The acknowledgement of Burleigh Wile as an unsung hero is long overdue. He was born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, and served in the armed forces in the second world war as an instrument mechanic. After the war he attended Acadia University and Technical University earning a degree in civil engineering and in his latter years worked for the Department of National Defence until his retirement in 1986. Burleigh, a widower, was married for thirty-five years to Margaret and they had three children, one girl and two boys, who have made him the proud grandfather on nine grandchildren.

Burleigh had his colostomy in February, 1986, joined Metro Halifax Chapter that March, and immediately became a working member. The chapter hosted a Regional Conference in 1987 and under the leadership of then-President, Tony Goldsmith, Burleigh was constantly available – making signs, running errands, helping with set-up – in other words, he was the conference “gofer”.

Burleigh became a certified visitor as soon as was possible and always answer “YES” to making a visit. He makes sure that the grocery tapes collected by members are delivered to the local office of the grocery chain involved for monetary reimbursement. Never one to watch the scene go by, he is a Past President of our chapter and has been Travel Coordinator for many, many years, arranging for members to drive to other chapters all over the Maritimes, e.g. Saint John and Moncton, N.B., Sydney, Valley points, Yarmouth, New Glasgow, etc. in Nova Scotia year after year.

In other words, Burleigh is an “active” member in every sense of the word. We are very happy to sing the praises of our chapter’s hero, Burleigh Wile—no long unsung. (Bernice Richards, Past President, Metro Halifax Chapter) (Burleigh Wile passed away on 9 January, 2003)




Debbie Lalonde – Ottawa Chapter

Debbie Lalonde is a pretty, bubbly lady who smiles and laughs a lot and who claims to be shy. But she is also a gutsy, generous lady who cares deeply about others and puts that caring into action.

Debbie came from a Canadian Air Force family who moved from Rockcliffe (Ottawa) to Montreal, Belleville, and then back to Ottawa. She has lived in Ottawa since she was fifteen, attending Glebe Collegiate and Commerce where she took a commercial certificate. Bookkeeping is her forte but she has worked at several jobs including a stint with the Ottawa Municipal Employees Credit Union and the Japanese Embassy.

She became seriously ill in her twenties with the usual painful symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis and at twenty-six she was finally diagnosed as having Ulcerative Colitis after two years of being told it was her nerves. Prednisone gave her relief for a few months but she ended up in hospital on complete bowel rest. However, when Debbie was thirty-two in the summer of 1985 she was again a very sick girl. She was given a temporary ostomy in September even though she asked for a permanent stoma. There were complications but eventually the ostomy worked after a month in hospital. By February a permanent ostomy was needed and the Ulcerative Colitis was cured. After all of this Debbie was lucky enough to meet Huguette Levesque RNET who helped her through adjustment. Also Debbie had belonged to the Ileitis and Colitis Foundation who sent her on to UOA Ottawa.

Debbie met her husband, Larry, just before surgery and he supported her through it. They were married when she was well again. Her quality of life had improved one hundred percent.

Debbie learned to crochet when she was eleven and since then she has “crocheted a chain that would circle the world.” Stained glass, Christmas decorations, jewelry, and computer art are some other crafts. Debbie is the Consummate Crafter. She has, with her usual generosity established an annual Craft Show from which all the table profits go to charities. Debbie’s charity of choice has always been UOA ,Ottawa to which she has contributed more than two thousand dollars over a six year period and intends to continue this support every year.

Besides this, Debbie has been a Director of UOA, Ottawa for three years. She produces our special bookmarks. She sees to the designing of all trophies and plaques. She produced our new publicity pamphlet and is working on a new business card. She supervises the annual Cheese Sale. She created the Ostomy Trivial Pursuits Game. And takes part in all activities and social events. She has even been known to turn into an elf. She is a Visitor who takes her turn on t