Our Awards

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.

  • 2020 – Steve Maybee, Mississauga, ON
  • 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

  • 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.

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)

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.

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 the hotline. She says, “I just try to do my bit.”

Well your “bit” has been invaluable to your fellow ostomates, Debbie. Debbie believes in complete openness about ostomies. “I educate people all the time. I don’t hide my ostomy. How else can people learn? And when they learn, they needn’t go through the terrible shock which ostomy surgery can be.”

When asked what she thought UOA provided, she replied, “People need ostomates to be there for them and give them information. We do that.”

Well you certainly do that, Debbie. You are a true Unsung Hero. (Dolly Dunlop, President)




Mike and Betty Woolridge – Metro Halifax Chapter

The Metro Halifax chapter of the United Ostomy Association of Canada has been blessed by a pair of imports, a hustand and wife who have given years of dedication to it, and without whom many of the details of running an organization would not get done.

These two Newfoundlanders who have been Halifax chapter members for the last 10 years, have not limited their contribution to their local chapter for both have been instrumental at the national level too.

Mike and Betty Woolridge arrived in Halifax in 1994 after a circuitous journey that took him from his native province and her from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Richmond, B.C. and then back to Nova Scotia.

Mike, an airline employee for 35 years before retiring in 1994, grew up on Newfoundland’s east coast. He was a mechanic with Eastern Provincial Airlines, then transferred to Canadian Airlines as a line maintenance manager for the international section. After he transferred to Richmond, Mike had a check up in 1992 when a tumor was found in the bowel. An operation at Richmond General left him with a permanent colostomy.

He immediately joined the Vancouver chapter in April, 1993 until he retired in 1994 and moved to Halifax. His wife Betty was born in Edinburgh. As a child, she came to St. John’s, Nfld. in 1945 with her war bride mother. After school graduation, she took a secretarial course, joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corp for three years, then met and married Mike. They have three children and two grandchildren.

When Mike joined Metro Halifax chapter after settlingin their new home in Enfield, about 40 km from Halifax, he and Betty joined in chapter activities. He became vice-president and organized a newsletter mailing committee. Betty helped at the meeting wecome desk and took full responsibility for that in 1999.

Mike was elected president of Metro Halifax in 1999 and immediately started campaigning for a UOAC conference in Halifax which came about in August of 2002. Its success was mainly due to Mike and Betty’s exceptional organizational skills, and along with co-chair and chapter past president Bernice Richards, kept everyone enthused.

Mike and Betty have attended every national conference except Edmonton (when they couldn’t arrange a flight) and was Metro Halifax’s delegate to the first UOAC conference in Toronto in 1998.

While Mike is presently serving a second term as president, Betty has continued her instrumental role in the UOAC’s Spouses and Significant Others program which she formed because of the horrendous experience they found with little ET or other support at the time of Mike’s surgery.

Betty made a spouse’s presentation at UOAC’s 2002 conference in Montreal. Through her diligence, UOAC agreed with the need and a committee was formed of which Betty is now chair. The idea is taking off across the country with many chapters becoming involved.

In his non-ostomy life, Mike is 1st Vice President and poppy chairman of Enfield/Montgomery 133 Legion Branch. He is also chair of Call to Remembrance, a high school program to make students more aware of the Legion and its activities. When his children were home, Mike was a Cub leader for 15 years.

Betty, too, has heavy community involvement. She will be president of the Noval Scotia Crime Prevention Society in April, chair of the Tri-County Crime Prevention, was secretary and co-founder of the Citizens on Patrol and member of Safe Seniors’ at Home program.

Betty was involved in the church, school and recreation programs while living in Gander and Goose Bay, was accountant of the local figure skating association for 19 years. When sex education came into the school in the mid-seventies, she was an advisor to the provincial board to bring it to the students in the correct way.

The Woolridges are certainly Unsung Heroes in every sense of the word. Our community benefits from their devotion and dedication. (Metro Halifax member Joel Jacobson)




Bernice Richards – Metro Halifax Chapter

Bernice Richards should not be “unsung”. Her praises should be sung from the highest mountains. The Halifax woman, a Sydney, N.S. native, has been an active and invaluable member of the Metro Halifax chapter of UOA since she first joined in January 1995. It’s not certain whether she realized that she’d get immediately involved, but within 18 months, she was chapter president. Because of the sudden passing of her mentor, past president Brad Amirualt, who assured her of his assistance, she learned quickly.

Bernice served two terms as president, while being corresponding secretary, a postion she still holds. But let’s go back to the 16-year-old youngster who moved to Halifax from Sydney, took a job in a bank, worked there 20 years, then assisted a chartered accountant, and through him met the owner of a neon sign business, bought a share, and managed it quite successfully with two partners for many years. But while experiencing business success, her personal life took a turn when she was afflicted with ulcerative colitis, which hastened her retirement in 1991. Taking the steriod prednisone brought on a litany of problems, including cataract surgery and artificial joints. The illness was so debilitating, doctors finally consented to her request for surgery in December 1994.

With foresight, her daughter Nancy, had already contacted the ostomy chapter for information about life after surgery and urged her mother to join in January, 1995. Bernice attended her first meeting the following month accompanied by Nancy.

Until her husband of 35 years was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease and required her more immediate attention in recent months, Bernice participated in all chapter functions and travel.

One highlight of her presidential term was the Chapter’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 1997, the tremendous success of which was mostly due to the efforts of Bernice, assisted by Nancy. For the term 1999-2000 she held the position of Director for UOAC and participated in intensive and productive bylaw working committee on major revisions.

Bernice also worked tirelessly on the most successful 5th Annual UOAC Conference in August 2002 held in Halifax as assistant chair. Some of her duties were supporting the goody bag chair, obtaining many of the speakers, doing a tremendous amount of correspondence and being a general “gofer.” Her two children, Nancy and Bill have supported Bernice in her work with the chapter and ostomates. She is a strong adherent to the church.

One side of Bernice chapter members recognize is her great empathy towards those who are ill or infirm. Former Connections editor, Bette Yetman recalls the time Bernice knocked on her door knowing Bette was ill. “There was Bernice with a lovely casserole of macaroni u0026amp; cheese. She just handed it to me, said she couldn’t wait, and dashed off. An amazing woman and so generous. Bernice is always taking some baking to those who aren’t well and I don’t know how she has time to do it.”

Bernice Richards, working behind the scenes, taking little credit, the true Unsung Hero! (Joel Jacobson, Secretary, Metro Halifax Chapter)




Astrid Graham – Ottawa Support Group

Volunteering did not begin with the United Ostomy Association. Astrid has volunteered for many years as an Ottawa Hospital Board member even while she was still in the work force. During this time she managed many shops, such as the gift shop and coffee shop and the beauty salon. To be more effective in decisions made as a board member, she actually worked in most of these shops.

After her husband Doug’s ostomy surgery in 1996, she searched the internet to get information about ostomies to help deal with Doug’s problems. Shortly after, they became members of the Ottawa UOA Chapter with Astrid accompanying Doug to that first meeting. This has never changed. She is there with him every meeting.

After attending the National and International conferences in 1997, Astrid and her husband both decided to help out wherever possible. Almost immediately after joining, both became involved in the Ottawa Chapter. When the position of Treasurer became difficult to fill, Astrid volunteered. She has since been elected for a second term in this position. She soon created her own computerized accounting system from the previous hand-written records and files. Between her computer prowess and creativity, she has initiated and designed an expense/reimbursement form, an invoice system for a steady cash flow, a direct membership renewal system, a bilingual charitable cash receipt and name tags with the Ottawa Chapter logo for the members. She has also initiated and participated in the development of various financial policies.

Astrid works tirelessly in all our fundraising endeavours and social events. The Ottawa Chapter has benefited remarkably because of her hard work and dedication.

Astrid’s excellent computer skills saw her as part of the transition when large, cumbersome computers evolved into hand-held models. Because of this expertise, she has been able to redesign and produce a number of pages of the Ottawa newsletter.

Astrid has accompanied her husband to every UOA of Canada conference and the past two IOA conferences. She attends every session as well as the spouses of ostomates sessions. She has participated in the creation of the pamphlet for the UOA of Canada Spouses group.

She constantly keeps in contact with a number of our members and spouses, often including taking them out for lunch or shopping.

She is the Treasurer for FOW (Friends of Ostomates Worldwide) and always looking for surplus, unused supplies and cash donations. Her latest project was initiating and designing the FOW website.

Outside her volunteer activities, she likes to cook, make crafts, travel, sew, work in the garden and is very much involved with her grandchildren and family. She enjoys competing in contests and sweepstakes on her computer.

Astrid has been incredibly dedicated to the UOA movement and has been steadfastly loyal to our Ottawa Chapter, where her husband is presently the President. It is now time that we recognize her as an “Unsung Hero.”




Doug Graham – Ottawa Support Group

Doug underwent surgery for an ileostomy in September, 1996 to correct a serious ulcerative colitis condition that had developed early in the same year. At that time he and his wife Astrid were unaware of the existence of the United Ostomy Association. Subsequently, through information obtained from the Winnipeg UOA web page, and later with the assistance of the visiting VON nurse, Shirley McSavaney, Doug and Astrid were able to benefit from membership in the local UOA Chapter.

Doug was born and educated in Ottawa. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the Armed Forces where he spent nine years in the Black Watch regiment. During that time he served in Europe and spend a considerable amount of time on peace-keeping duties in Cyprus. Returning to civilian life, he went to work with the Municipal Government and later joined the Municipal Health and Safety Association of the Ontario Government. He is now their Eastern Ontario Manager, responsible for teaching all aspects of health and safety requirements to workers, management, council, police and fire departments in Eastern Ontario. His duties include promotion of public awareness and in some cases being part of the investigation of serious industrial accidents and presenting his expertise in court.

Upon joining the Ottawa Support Group in 1997 his talents and work ethic were immediately recognized and he was nominated as the Group’s delegate to the IOA Calgary conference. In the following year he became President of the Ottawa Chapter, a post he held for two years. He performed his UOA duties in an exemplary manner in spite of his heavy work schedule which necessitated constant travel. Through his efforts and leadership the Chapter prospered. In addition to organizing and chairing monthly meetings, Doug was actively involved in fund raising, speaking at local hospitals and providing telephone support to ostomates. He promotes and attends all National and International conferences.

In the year 2000 he was elected as director of the National UOA and was made chairman of the By-laws Committee. He was again elected to the National Board in 2002 and presently holds the position of Secretary. In addition to his duties at the local and Canadian UOA level, Douglas is a member of the International Standards Committee. He, in 2002, accepted the presidency of the local chapter for a second term.

Besides being involved in UOA activities, he also has been a volunteer board member of the Ottawa Safety Council for many years and presently holds the position of vice-president.




Alf Keating – Saskatoon Ostomy Association

Seven years ago, Alf stood up at one of our local chapter meetings and announced he’d like to spearhead a golf tournament on behalf of our association. He said he wanted to raise funds our chapter could use to send delegates to the UOA National Conference, young people to Youth Ostomy Camp and (for that year) our E.T.’s to a conference in the United States. Like many chapters we struggled to raise funds and awareness of our chapter and UOA Canada. You would think we would have jumped at the offer but we were reticent. I think many of us were unsure we could manage all that was involved in a golf tournament. Alf, however, was undaunted, as well as outrageously confident we could do it.

That year Alf, almost single-handedly, planned the tournament, rounded up sponsors, arranged media coverage, found prizes and sold entries to golfers. His letters to potential sponsors (largely local businesses and doctors) began by explaining what ostomies were and what UOAC had to offer. Each year he arranged media spots to publicize the tournament but the publicity focused on raising awareness of ostomy surgery the role of UOAC for ostomates. Our association did contribute in finding prizes and running the tournament but it never would have happened without Alf. For three years he ran a lovely tournament and each year members of our chapter became more involved. For three years our chapter was able to send delegates to each of the National Conferences, send as many children as we could find to camp, and support our ET’s.

Then Alf announced he thought we should have a celebrity golf tournament! Once again our chapter was hesitant but Alf was fearless. This time he sought national sponsorship and was able, through ConvaTec, to secure Rolf Benirshke as the keynote celebrity. Alf worked tirelessly to orchestrate a banquet, featuring entertainment, Rolf as the key note speaker, and a silent auction, followed the next day by a golf tournament where each foursome enjoyed the company of a celebrity. Alf secured several media promotions leading up to the tournament, including a 15 minute interview on CTV News with Rolf and Jessie, a child who has had ostomy surgery. Again the emphasis was on the role of UOAC.

Last year Alf, very ill with heart problems, announced he could not run the tournament. Our chapter agreed it would be shame to let the tournament die, and banded together to discover we could do it – maybe not with Alf’s style, but we did it! In four years Alf had created in us the confidence to take it on. It was a tremendous morale booster for the chapter. This year Alf has taken on the challenges of running our sixth Norm Faulkner Ostomy Classic Golf Tournament on the Sunday following the conference.

To my way of thinking Alf exemplifies the very type of person who will keep UOAC alive and well. He has reached many people in the business, medical, and general community with information about ostomy surgery and the support UOAC can provide. He has helped our group feel proud of who they are and what they can accomplish. He has brought heart and spirit to our chapter through his tireless efforts. I believe it was the confidence we developed through the golf tournament that lead us to believe we were up to the challenge of hosting the National Conference in Saskatoon.




Charlie Baird – Metro Halifax Chapter

Charlie Baird has a big smile, a willing manner, and a heart so warm and caring it almost breaks yours. No task is every too large, too much trouble or inconvenient. Charlie is reliable, gentle with everybody, a model to other volunteers and an inspiration to patients undergoing ostomy surgery.

Charlie was born, raised and attended school in River Hebert, N.S. where he played hockey, softball and ruby; belonged to the Cadet Corp and joined North Nova Army Reserve during the Second World War. Joining the Bank of Nova Scotia after high school, Charlie spent most of his working life in the finance industry with the exception of a few years as one of the few who worked on the infamous Avro Arrow in Ontario. He also spent five years in the Naval Fleet Air Arm.

Charlie has four children, six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He lives in the home he and his wife purchased when they moved back to Nova Scotia. Always community active, Charlie participated in Community Club work and the Home and School organization. He also enjoyed being a hockey coach and playing rhythm drums with dance bands.

Charlie’s wife Evelyn succumbed to cancer in 1986 and he fought his own battle with cancer requiring colostomy surgery in 1995. As has happened with many of our members, he was inspired by his ostomy visitor to get better and to help fellow ostomates. He joined Metro Halifax chapter, became a very effective certified visitor and, following his own visitor’s example, inspires others to look ahead to see how good life can be with an ostomy.

Charlie lives by the philosophy with which he was raised, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,”and six years ago he began volunteering at the Emergency Department of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, (spending six to seven hours a day there, three or four days a week). He is now affectionately known as “Wheelchair Charlie”. Presently coordinator for 16 other volunteers in that department, he is the only non-medical member of the Continuous Quality Improvement Committee (CQI), whose mission is striving to make improvements in the Emergency Department for staff and patients. Charlie has conducted some 400 surveys of former patients for CQI. His efforts volunteering were recently the subject of a very complimentary article in one of the Halifax daily newspapers.

Wouldn’t you think all of the foregoing would be a full plate for anyone! In addition, Charlie is a very effective and imaginative Program Director for Metro Halifax Chapter; “Jack-ofall trades” at monthly meetings; still regularly visits a nursing home where his mother died several years ago (40 miles from Halifax); has organized a group of his schoolmates of 50 years ago, meeting 4 times a year; and supports out-of-town smaller ostomy chapters by attending their meetings. Equivocation vanishes when the name of Charlie Baird prompts the synonymy “Unsung Hero”. (Bernice Richards, Past President)




Ken Zomer – Ottawa Chapter

About six years ago Ken Zomer underwent surgery which resulted in a colostomy. This was his introduction to life with an ostomy. Fortunately for both himself and all our members, he learned about our United Ostomy Support Group, Ottawa through a newsletter.

Almost immediately he became involved with our chapter and has contributed steadily ever since. He began by managing the membership portfolio and taking responsibility for mailing our newsletter. He also became a member of our Board of Directors. Not only has he presented at our monthly meetings, but he has also helped to chair these meetings on occasion. More importantly, he willingly and very positively shares his experience with ostomates at meetings and can always be seen giving support to other members. He is presently enrolled in the uncoming Visitor’s Training Program.

But this is only a part of his contributions. He arrives early to set up for every Board meeting and the general meeting which follows. And he is often one of the last to leave. The chapter can always count on him to help whenever and however needed at the Christmas Party or summer picnic. Leading the Christmas carol singing on the piano has become an annual event.

Ken and Betty have three daughters. Both are from Holland. Ken landed in 1956 in Halifax at Pier 21. Although retired as a Security Officer, it would appear that his latest employment is with our UOAC chapter. Ken’s beautiful tenor voice can be heard with the Ottawa Male Choir. As well, he is a master at the piano and organ.

But of all he does and contributes, Ken’s greatest attribute to his fellow ostomates is his stalwart dedication to the UOAC mission.

On behalf of all chapter members thank you Ken, for all you have done and all you will continue to contribute to spread the word of the UOAC. You have earned this “Unsung Hero Award” – accept it with great pride. (Ottawa Awards Committee)




Minerva Holton – Moncton Chapter

Minerva Holton received an ileostomy in 1998 after years of suffering with Crohn’s disease. She fought against the surgery for years and once she had surgery, she did not accept it at first. After talking to other ostomates, she decided to come to the UOAC meeting. At these meetings, she realized that more should be done to help ostomates in the Moncton area. She quickly got involved with the group and within a year, she was elected as President of the Moncton chapter.

During her term, Minerva met with government officials and people in charge of both hospitals in the Moncton area to lobby for an ET. With her efforts, we now have one fulltime ET nurse at the George Dumont Hospital, one person with the Extra Mural Hospital who is presently taking the ET course and one position is now available at the Moncton Hospital. This person has two years to complete the ET course. This would give the ostomates in the Moncton area 3 ETs in the next couple of years.

Minerva wanted to have the group and ostomates recognized in Moncton. October 5, 2003 was proclaimed World Ostomy Day at a meeting at City Hall and Minerva had her picture taken with the Deputy Mayor. She also went on a Cable TV program to talk about ostomy surgery. The tape of the TV program along with the proclamation and what members did during WOD were sent to the World Ostomy Day Contest and the Moncton Chapter received the 3rd prize.

Minerva also applied for a charitable donation number from Canada Customs. After this was received, memorial cards were made up and taken to funeral homes in the Moncton area.

With Minerva’s efforts, the Moncton chapter sent a young person to Youth Camp in June, 2004. To make this happen, she made arrangements for pizza voucher sales. She also contacted the Miramichi chapter who helped with the expenses.

When her term ended, she volunteered to become the Vice President – Program and Education. When the President could not carry on with his duties, Minerva quickly volunteered again for another 2 years as President.

Minerva got involved in organizing the Moncton Chapter’s 25th Anniversary celebration which is scheduled for June 5, 2004. To raise money towards this event, she went to several businesses in the Moncton area for donations to make up a basket for a draw. At each business, she explained to them what we were all about and what we were trying to do. Everyone was happy to donate items for this cause. Minerva and two other members spent one day at each of the hospitals in the Moncton area. Ticket sales have been successful. The draw on this basket will be held at the general meeting on May 23, 2004.

Minerva spent hours looking over past minutes and documentation to make up a list of past Presidents and the years they served along with any Board of Director members she could find. All this information along with some pictures is now available for future members of the UOAC Moncton chapter.

Minerva and her husband, George have attended every annual conference since becoming a member. She says that with every conference, she learns something new and has also made some life long friendships.

Because of Minerva’s untiring efforts to be of help to ostomates of the Greater Moncton area and educate the public about ostomy surgery, we feel she would be a deserving recipient of the “Unsung Hero” award. (Eva Bordage, Secretary-Treasurer Moncton Chapter)




Muriel Kinnear – Ostomy Toronto Chapter

This person whom I will describe to you in the next paragraphs will most probably blush with embarrassment. This person exemplifies the adage above and beyond the call of duty. She has been a member of our Chapter for twenty odd years. I can never recall a time when she was down.

For at least the last fifteen of these 20 years Muriel Kinnear has made sure that there are always refreshments at our monthly meetings. Whether she has baked these goodies herself or had it arranged with other members, there has never been a time that I can remember we did not have plenty! After the meeting Muriel will see to it that the dishes are cleaned and the coffee urn is washed and all is put away before leaving for the evening(that’s usually not before ten thirty). Muriel has help in this endeavor from Mildred Wilson.

Muriel is also responsible for making sure that the monthly newsletter is mailed each month. She takes this job of responsibility seriously. Muriel comes into the office and stuffs each envelope with the newsletter and includes a copy of the “Connection”. She then processes the stuffed envelope through the mail machine with correct amount of postage. After this is completed, Muriel then proceeds to take the mail to the post office some 4 blocks away! All this is done in one day, by the way, no small feat! This is repeated 10 times a year! When asked to come to do our bingo sessions whether 10AM or 10 PM, Muriel can always be counted on! I rarely hear the words ” I cant’t do it” from Muriel.

It is for this reason I consider Muriel an Unsung Hero for us at Ostomy Toronto. (Submitted by Lorne Aronson)




Tala Al-Awaid – Metro Halifax Chapter

The ever-present smile on Tala Al-Awaid’s face tells it all.

He’s pain-free, eats whatever he wants, and faces each day with optimism.

The 18-year-old Dalhousie University freshman engineering student was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease five years ago. Like most Crohn’s sufferers, Talal had constant stomach pains, a limited diet, and, for a time in grade 11, was on a feeding tube, ingesting nothing by mouth.

He was a regular resident of the IWK Health Centre, in and out of hospital through grades 9, 10 and 11. When in public, he feared not making it to a bathroom in time. It was a stressful period for a junior high, then high school, student who loved to play soccer and basketball, but even had those activities curtailed.

Then he heard the word “ileostomy” from his doctors. They told him one option to alleviate his discomfort, and maybe the only one, was to remove the colon and bowel, pull a small piece of intestine through the skin on his side, and create a stoma through which waste matter would collect in a pouch.

“It was well-explained to me,” says Talal, who, with his family, moved to Halifax from Kuwait in 1992, after the Gulf War. His father had worked in the petroleum industry and is now in a private immigration consulting business, based in Halifax.

“I was in grade 11, so I understood well what I was being told,” says Talal. “I read a lot about ostomies, talked to surgeons, watched videos, but still didn’t know what to expect as a young person. Everything I studied was geared to older people.”

The day before his surgery two years ago, Talal was visited by a 22-year-old man who’d had an ostomy since age 19.

At last, thought Talal. Someone near my age, wearing a tee shirt and jeans.

“He told me everything he went through. He showed me his ostomy. It didn’t look so bad to me. And he talked of what he could do. He played hockey, had a girl friend, and I couldn’t see that he had an ostomy. It didn’t show. That took the pressure off. Going into surgery, I felt confident.”

Talal said his father tried to get him to avoid surgery. “Crohn’s isn’t common in the Middle East so he didn’t know what to expect. He wasn’t sure I would be back to normal. He’d always ask the doctors if there were new medications (so I could avoid surgery).”

But Talal did become “normal”, very quickly.

“Physically, I can do whatever I want,” he exclaims. “I can play whatever sport I want. Sure, I get bumped in my stoma when I play basketball but it doesn’t hurt and doesn’t damage it. The only thing I’d rather not do is take off my shirt. But that’s just me.”

In grade 12 at C.P. Allen High, Talal was head of the prom committee, in the robotics club, and a member of the soccer team that finished third in provincials. He even described what an ostomy is all about to his classes. “This happening to me was out of my control, so I felt comfortable talking about it. There are people who say you shouldn’t do this or you can’t do that.”

His big problem was not knowing young people with either Crohn’s disease or ostomies – until he heard about a summer camp for young ostomates.

“I was questioning why I was the only (youth) with it,” he says. “When I joined the Halifax chapter of the United Ostomy Association of Canada, I met a member who had gone to this camp in Alberta. When I went in 2003, I met other kids who had ostomies longer than me. All of a sudden, it wasn’t so bad at all.”

Talal says being at Camp Horizon for a week was the most normal he had ever felt. “We talked with each other of how we dealt with our ostomies, but really had only one scheduled session devoted to the subject. Otherwise, we did normal camp things, like sports, swimming and other activities. “The other campers understood. They, too, experienced pain, went through surgery, put on, emptied and removed their pouches, just like me.”

Talal looks back “The first month (after surgery) was rough, but once I adjusted, I realized I’m better off than people who don’t have ostomies.”

Talal is only 18 with a full life ahead. He’ll complete university, have a career, find a mate and probably have children.

“Among many other things, we discussed sexuality at summer camp,” he explains. “We realized most relationships at school are based on looks or popularity. As you get older, people see you for who you are. “The fact I have an ostomy should have no effect on my life. Having spoken to older people at meetings of the ostomy chapter, I’ve discovered I have no reason to fear what’s ahead, only look at life as positive.”

Doris CrandallMoncton ChapterFebruary, 2006
Lee MunnMoncton ChapterMarch, 2006
Hazel DauphineeMetro Halifax ChapterMay, 2006
Betty McNabTruro ChapterMay, 2006
Cathy MacIntyreCape Breton ChapterJune, 2006
Eva BordageMoncton ChapterOctober, 2006
Marie WinnBrantford & District ChapterMay, 2007
Berthe HuntleyCalgary ChapterSeptember, 2007
Irma MorningstarLethbridge ChapterNovember, 2007
Mike LeverickWinnipeg ChapterFebruary, 2008
Linda GielenTruro ChapterFebruary, 2008
Norma GibsonThunder Bay ChapterMay, 2008
Olive JacksonMetro Halifax ChapterMay, 2008
Shirley RoxboroughHamilton & District ChapterJune, 2008
Marlyne WightSaskatoon ChapterSeptember, 2008
John and Nora D'EonSouth West Nova Scotia ChapterJune, 2009
Cindy HartmannVancouver ChapterJune, 2009
Robert CrawfordSaskatoon Ostomy AssociationJune, 2009

** Deceased



Doris Crandall – Moncton Chapter

Doris Crandall had her colostomy surgery in 1977 as a result of cancer. Following her surgery, there was an ad in the newspaper that there was a meeting for those with ostomy surgeries. She contacted the number that happened to be Bette Yetman’s. Doris made arrangements for a meeting room and Bette Yetman and Ruth Kenney came to Moncton from Halifax for the first meeting where a number of people attended.

Doris became the first President of the Moncton Chapter in 1979, a post she held for four years. She was the Chapter’s Vice President for three years, from 1995-97. Doris has also been the visiting coordinator for the last 25 years, a job she does very well. She is always willing to help out where she is needed, whether it is visiting new persons with ostomies, greeting people at meetings or helping with fund raising events. Doris recently lost her husband of 58 years, Nelson, who was also a great supporter of our chapter and never missed meetings when he was able.

It is people like Doris Crandall who makes the Moncton Chapter such a great chapter because of her presence and willingness to help.



Lee Munn – Moncton Chapter

Moncton chapter member Lee Munn had his colostomy surgery in 1989 as a result of cancer. Lee is a World War II veteran, having served overseas for six years, from 1939 to 1945. Following his return, he was in the Militia for 10 years. He has been a volunteer member of the Legion for over 60 years and does the Honour Guard when a Legionnaire passes away. Lee worked at C.N. as an electrician until his retirement.

We can count on Lee to be at every meeting to greet new people and visit new Ostomates at hospitals. He is also in charge of the Moncton Chapter’s library. Lee and his lovely wife, Edith, have been married for 58 years. They volunteer to help during events where fundraising is involved, such as selling tickets at hospitals. It is always a pleasure to see them at each of our meetings.



Hazel Dauphinee – Metro Halifax Chapter

Born in the living room of her home in Nictaux, Nova Scotia, maybe eight decades ago, and still living in the same house, Hazel Dauphinee emigrated to Boston after high school to take a business course and then work. She married high school chum Frank Dauphinee in 1947 and they have resided in Middleton or Halifax ever since.

Hazel had colostomy surgery in February 1980, joined the Metro Halifax Chapter in 1982, but, because of travelling distance, started the Middleton u0026amp; Valley Ostomy Satellite in June 1982. She was vice president, but assumed the presidency in 1984 and has yet to be succeeded. Hazel has obviously been the driving force of this Satellite.

She joined the Annapolis East Unit of the Canadian Cancer Society shortly after her surgery, faithfully attends meetings and also visits patients in home and hospitals at their request. Hazel has been a volunteer at Middleton’s Soldier’s Memorial Hospital Gift Shop since the early 1950s.

She was at the initial meeting of  ‘Living With Cancer’ Support Group in Greenwood and regularly supports and uplifts new cancer patients.

Hazel has been a volunteer with Middleton u0026amp; District Welfare for 35 years, with more than 20 people on her interview list. Hazel takes other lady volunteers to Greenwood’s ‘Friendly Neighbours’ to sort clothing and pack requests. Each December, she works for telethon fundraiser, Christmas Daddies, and interviews and ensures the needs of clients receiving aid from that event.

In 1986 she organized the first Strawberry Picnic u0026amp; Potluck Lunch for ostomates from Halifax through the Annapolis Valley and even Nova Scotia’s south shore, to show ostomates throughout the area they can enjoy activities as they had before their operation.

Because of Hazel’s efforts in 1984, when Nova Scotians were fighting to get ET’s at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, the government installed them. She and ostomates from all over Nova Scotia, including members from Cape Breton chapter, inundated the Premier, Minister of Health, CEO of the V.G.H. with letters supporting the brief and the need for ETs. So many of them attended a meeting at the provincial legislature, that the Committee accepted the brief. Hazel was a personal friend of Dr. Gerry Sheehy, Minister of Health at the time, so it was very hard to say ‘no’ when your constituents were all there, saying hello and calling you by your first name.

In 1988, Hazel was presented a provincial certificate for Volunteer of the Year and received the Volunteer of the Year Award for Annapolis County.



Betty McNab – Truro Chapter

Betty McNab was born in Glace Bay on Aug. 19, l922 and will celebrate her birthday at the convention.She came to Truro to attend teachers college, met her first husband, Percy Hall, and they married in l942. They had two children, and Betty has nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Percy died in 1986 after they were married 44 years.Betty taught school in Glace Bay and the Truro area before working for a Truro dentist for 30 years.Betty had an ileostomy in 1984 after years of suffering with colitis. She became a member of the Truro Ostomy Association when it started 28 years ago, serving as secretary, along with every other job that needed to be done. She is a trained visitor, assisting more than 50 patients in recent times.In l988, and again in 1995, she was honoured by the Truro chapter for outstanding service.At the April 2006 meeting, Betty was presented with gifts in appreciation for what she has done to hold the chapter together. It was in danger of folding due to low membership but Betty worked, all by herself, to keep things alive. She delivered clinic posters, found speakers for meetings, organized lunch and called everyone with meeting reminders.



Cathy MacIntyre – Cape Breton Chapter

Cathy has been a member of Cape Breton Nova Scotia Chapter since 1986 and is currently vice-president. She became involved in working with ostomates through her employer, pharmacist Donald Ferguson, a founding member of CBNS Chapter.

With her deep sense of compassion, Cathy quickly familiarized herself with ostomy supplies and patients’ needs and adapted to helping ostomates.

Cathy is now owner/operator of Cu0026amp;D Medical Supplies and is always ready to help those in need. In her ever-pleasant manner she willingly offers assistance to ostomates in need of supplies and knowledgeably assists with their selection. She visits homes of those who cannot otherwise get help, and delivers supplies to anyone, without cost. At any time, day or night, Cathy comes to the rescue. She is the first to offer help financially or otherwise to any ostomate that is referred to her.

As a member of the Cape Breton chapter, Cathy assists fund raising activities, and uses her store to advertise for our chapter. She is constantly on the lookout for new members and quite often is responsible for bringing many new ostomates to chapter meeting.

A non-ostomate, Cathy is responsible for booking our meeting places and speakers, and goes above and beyond in helping our chapter. She has attended three annual conferences.

Cathy is a very proud mother of Arlene, a student at Cape Breton University.



Eva Bordage – Moncton Chapter

Eva has been a member of the Moncton Chapter for many years and in this time has been very active. She has been our secretary for close to 15 years and does her job efficiently and with much pride. She also is our treasurer and keeps our books just like they were her own. The newsletter is another one of her jobs that she takes very seriously and makes sure it is in the mail in plenty of time so everyone knows exactly what is going on.

When Eva had her surgery she was a young Mom of three and shortly after surgery returned to work to take care of her young family. These children have now grown and have families of their own and Eva has made time to tend her grandchildren. She will make sure there is always time for chapter affairs. She was the secretary of the 2006 conference held in Moncton and also helped in other areas when needed.

Thank you Eva for all your caring and sharing of your talents.



Marie Winn – Brantford u0026amp; District Chapter

“I joined the Brantford and District Ostomy Association just so I could get the newsletter” is a familiar saying in the group. Many of our group look forward to the monthly newsletters and keep their back issues for their personal information.

Marie Winn was the wife of an ostomate from 1965 till his death in 1969. Her oldest son was operated on in 1975 for an ileostomy. Her other two children received treatment later on. Their story was in the Ostomy Canada Spring edition of 2003. Marie is married to Bob Winn and resides in Brantford with Bob and their oldest son.

As well as sitting in front of her computer and collecting “stuff” for our chapter newsletter, Marie assists her husband in his business. In August of 2002, Marie became newsletter editor for our chapter. She also has done letterheads, letters of requests, flyers, cards and pictures.

She designed the chapter logo and designed and made a quilt for our chapter raffle. Marie is the head of Brantford S.A.S.O., has had yard sales and participates in all our fund raising projects.

In the fall of 2006, Marie became chapter Vice President as well as remaining as newsletter editor. Marie wears several hats and they all fit her exceptionally well. Marie is a true unsung modest and caring hero.



Berthe Huntley – Calgary Chapter

Berthe has been a member of the Calgary chapter since 1990, serving as president for two terms (four years), vice president and minute secretary. She has coordinated and trained visitors for the last 15 years. She knows all current visitors personally, so can match patient profiles with relevant visitors. Berthe spends many hours diligently arranging visits and documenting statistics.

Berthe has kept archives of all chapter newsletters, constitution, bylaws u0026amp; amendments, and chapter u0026amp; executive minutes for 17 years. Most recently, she assisted in organizing the chapter’s Christmas auctions, participated in the 2006 bowl-a-thon, and contributed to the 2007 conference fund-raising raffle.

A qualified nurse, Berthe had her first ostomy surgery in the late 1980s and thus is an excellent advocate for promoting awareness of the changes ostomy surgery makes to a person’s attitude and outlook, the need for education and understanding, and the total care required for both ostomate and family.

Berthe was involved in organizing the 1997 National Conference and with 2007 conference registration. She contributes regularly to the chapter newsletter.

As a registered nurse, Berthe volunteered as a nurse at youth camp in the early 1990s. For more than ten years, she has been the ‘welcomer’ at Calgary Airport for young ostomates from throughout Canada. In the 1990’s, Berthe stored, sorted, boxed and arranged transportation for excess supplies for FOWC.

Berthe never seeks the limelight and is a quiet diligent worker and supporter of the chapter. Her choice is to keep active, volunteer and help others often younger than herself.



Irma Morningstar – Lethbridge Chapter

In 1995, Irma Morningstar had a six-week radiation treatment in Calgary, following colon cancer surgery. Just prior, she attended a local Lethbridge chapter meeting, and a gentleman at the meeting told her what to expect, as he had gone through the same process. This put her mind at ease and made her determined to get involved in the chapter to help others. Since that time she has filled virtually all chapter positions; e.g. – president, vice-president, secretary, financial secretary, hospital visitations, membership chair, and, to top it off, has reorganized the chapter library. Several times she has sent ostomy supplies to FOWC and done other tasks as well. If a job needed doing, or a board position needed to be filled, rather than wait for someone to come forward (which almost never happened), she stepped in and did the job herself. For years no new faces appeared at chapter meetings, and it was difficult if not impossible to get people involved. Several times we entered into serious dialogue as to whether we should try to keep the chapter afloat or not. However, Irma was not about to give up. We have gained four new members within the last year or so, who come out to all meetings and want to contribute. It is believed the chapter is functioning today, largely due to the hard work, patience and dedication of Irma. Without that, there seems to be no doubt that there would not be a chapter in Lethbridge, AB today. Irma Morningstar is a true Unsung Hero”.



Mike Leverick – Winnipeg Chapter

I had been in hospital for nearly a month as my doctor attempted to arrest the development of ulcerative colitis. The attempt was unsuccessful and ileostomy surgery was scheduled for December 12, 1991. I had requested a visitor from the local ostomy chapter. Four or five days prior to the surgery, on a cold December evening, Mike Leverick entered my room explaining he was that visitor. I very quickly discovered that Mike was of great comfort as he shared his experience as an ostomate, and was very understanding of my concerns. The next time he visited was the evening prior to my surgery. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude for that visit. Mike has been a certified visitor for over 20 years and using my example, I know he has been of comfort to all he has visited.

Mike has been a member of the Winnipeg Ostomy Association for almost all of his 30 years as an ostomate. In addition to being a certified visitor, Mike was a Vice-President in the mid-1990’s, newsletter editor for 10 years, and in 1995, created a website for the WOA, which is believed to have been the first website solely dedicated to ostomates in the world. He has assisted other chapters in developing their own website. For a while he acted as the webmaster for the GLO network of UOA, Inc.

Mike has attended UOA Inc. conferences in Las Vegas, Boston and Minneapolis, UOA Inc. regional conferences in Winnipeg, Green Bay and Minneapolis, the IOA Congress in Calgary and UOAC conference in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, which has enabled him to maintain a network of contacts from all over.

Mike keeps in contact with those he has visited. After being released from hospital, I was shut in for a lengthy period and Mike visited a number of times. At first we talked about the various aspects of life with an ostomy. Winnipeg had a great amount of snow that winter and my car was virtually buried in the back yard. On one visit, about three months after surgery I mentioned that I was feeling trapped. The next thing I knew, Mike was in my back yard, shovel in hand, digging out my car from the three to four feet of snow. Talk about going the extra mile.

A dedicated family man, he and his wife Pam have raised two children, now both in university. When I first met them, they were preschoolers. Mike was the house parent and had gathered three or four other neighbourhood children of the same age to form an informal day care. The kids were certainly having a great time.

After his children started school, he took courses to work with special needs children. Mike is now employed by the St. Vital School Division in Winnipeg as a special needs assistant.

Today Mike continues to maintain the WOA website, 13 years as webmaster in September 2008, and is a certified visitor, thus sharing his knowledge and compassion with other ostomates, not only locally but worldwide.



Linda Gielen – Truro Chapter

The Truro Chapter has been blessed with many unsung heroes and not all have a stoma. Two of our members, supporting spouse Linda Gielen, wife of our treasurer and ostomate Martin Gielen, are certainly unsung heroes.

Linda and Martin were friends of another couple, Betty and Keith Jennings. Betty was diagnosed with cancer and ended up with an ostomy. Linda and Martin were there every step of the long journey back for Betty. The Jennings joined the Truro group and attended the meetings along with Martin and Linda, until August of 2006, when Keith died suddenly of a heart attack. Betty was alone after that, living in Masstown, several kilometers from Truro.

Linda and Martin ensured Betty got to her doctor’s appointments and helped with anything else that needed to be done. When Betty sold her home in Masstown, they helped her settle in an apartment in Truro. Linda was with Betty every day, seeing to her every need.

Linda found Betty on the floor one morning, unable to get up. She called 911 and went with her to the hospital, where she had emergency surgery.

Her son was called home from Ontario and still Linda stayed by her side, leaving only to shower and change. Betty passed away in Linda’s arms October 2, 2007. The message I received was “my angel died in my arms tonight”.

I only hope that when my time comes that I have a friend, an unsung hero like Linda with me.



Norma Gibson – Thunder Bay Chapter

Norma joined the chapter almost five years ago. At one regular meeting, the newsletter editor announced that she would have to resign for personal reasons. We knew the vacancy would be difficult to fill, but fortunately for our chapter, Norma volunteered when the president asked for an interested person to fill the vacancy. Naturally, she was warmly welcomed.

The Sleeping Giant newsletters are very informative, not only to the ostomate but also to others who are interested in good health issues. Spouses and friends show a keen interest in the publication as well. Norma will also research articles for members upon request. Her newsletters receive rave reviews by all who read it. There are several members who subscribe to a membership just to receive their copy of the newsletter. The layout of the newsletter is attractive, timely and with a nice mix of humour.

The publication is always ready for mailing well in advance of our meetings. Who could ask for more??

Norma is also involved with other local organizations. She is the secretary of the board of directors of the Memorial Society and the North West Funeral alternatives, as well as the administrative secretary of the Therapeutic Riding Association.



Olive Jackson – Metro Halifax Chapter

Having had three ostomy operations, Olive Jackson is an inspiration to all whom she meets. A chapter member for about four years, she is the Ostomy Visitor chair for the chapter, and is in weekly contact with the ET nurses to find out who has had an operation, and then finds a trained visitor to visit with the patients.

She does several visits herself. She is an active participant in the visitor training program and is on Metro Halifax chapter executive committee. Olive prepares and presents the monthly visitor report for the meetings. She is constantly on the phone, sending cards, and/or visiting members to offer encouragement.

She bakes for the monthly meetings, volunteers to assemble the newsletter and pack supplies for FOWC.

She attends funerals for ostomates. She drives members to/from meetings.

Like most volunteers, Olive never seeks recognition for her efforts but continues to work for the betterment of the chapter and its members.



Shirley Roxborough – Hamilton u0026amp; District Chapter

Not very long ago, someone described Shirley as having “her fingers on the pulse of our chapter”. How true that is. Shirley, our long-time Secretary and longer time colostomate, has seen Chapter Presidents come and go. But one thing has been consistent – she makes sure our Hamilton u0026amp; District Ostomy Association runs smoothly.

Shirley is the one who keeps the Board members on track with a phone call and a gentle reminder about a job that needs doing – unless you call her first! Shirley is the ‘engineer’ who keeps the train on the rails. She’ll volunteer to do just about anything.

She’s the one who answers calls from the community and directs the caller to the appropriate chapter committee member; she checks the postal box regularly and deals with it; she makes sure each of the monthly meetings is advertised on the community channel and in the local newspapers; she corresponds with newsletter advertisers to get new ads or late payments; and she’s in contact with people at City Hall and the Lottery Corporation regarding licensing and getting lottery funds for the chapter.

Shirley is not one to shirk responsibility. If she says she’ll do something, consider it done! There’s one talent she has that no one can match. She can talk anyone into giving a donation such as at Christmas time or any special event where door prizes are needed – like huge stuffed toys, or big turkeys, or gift certificates!. How she does it, no one knows. When questioned where she gets the donations, her reply is “… don’t ask!”. Then she says, “I know a lot of people!”

Shirley doesn’t @#!*% -foot around problems. She tackles things head-on and if she doesn’t agree with something, she’ll let you know. And she’s almost always right. Shirley is a “diamond in the rough” and our Hamilton Chapter couldn’t do without her.



Marlyne Wight – Saskatoon Chapter

Marlyne Wight

Marlyne Wight

You know, last May when we had our windup with pizza at Sardinia restaurant, I was really concerned that we could not find anyone to serve on the executive. It was after the meeting and before we left Sardinia’s, that Marlyne Wight came up to me and asked if she could help in any way. I asked if she would like to organize our bingo night this year. She said sure, it would be fun.

So, during the summer, she worked at getting the hall booked and laying plans so that come the September meeting, we were on the ground running and getting everything ready. Incredible sponsors were found. Incredible prizes were donated. The silent auction was expanded to 14 items instead of just one. Attendance was up from 109 last year to 151 this year. She got her whole family involved. Not only that, but 24 friends and family came out and showed us how to party.

She recruited a team of volunteers and they met every week or so and really put on a great fund-raising supper and bingo night. Please join me in thanking Marlyne Wight for a job well done.

(Submitted by Peter Folk of the Saskatoon Chapter) 




John & Nora D’Eon – South West Nova Scotia Chapter

John D’Eon has been an ostomate since 1990 and has been a member of the South West Nova Scotia Chapter for many years. John is married to Nora, the chapter refreshment chairperson, and one would go a long way to find such dedicated members. John and Nora never miss a meeting and always add enthusiasm and sparkle to the chapter members’ time together.John and Nora have been married for 46 years and have three children and two grandchildren. They have spent many happy years together and have been bound by a strong relationship that has brought them through many of life’s storms. With a welcome for new members, smiles to share and open hearts to ostomates who have experienced the same surgery and life after that, John and Nora are just the right kind of people to be supportive in matters related to living with an ostomy.Nora has been in charge of refreshments for years, always ensuring a hot cup of tea or coffee and a table laden with many goodies to end the meetings. Nora is also active in her church and her community. She spents time doing crossword puzzles and cross stitch when she has time for herself.John is equally active in his church and community. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 50 years and loves to play cards with the boys when not out fighting fires. John also loves to hunt and fish and is an amateur blueberry grower (for the first time this year). The chapter is praying for a healthy crop so Nora can bake wonderful pies for the chapter’s annual pie sale.A carpenter for many years, John has produced many shelves and tables for raffling to increase the chapter’s bank account. He also weaves baskets and on many occasions teaches this art in his community.



Cindy Hartmann – Vancouver Chapter

Cindy Hartmann has been a long-time chapter member, one of those quiet folks who show up at the majority of meetings and when asked to do something, can be relied upon to follow through.

When our greeter became unable to continue his duties, Cindy stepped up and has been our stalwart phoner and keeper of the name tags. She holds down the fort at the door and gets the latecomers and newbies seated.

Deb Rooney, vice president and newsletter editor of the Vancouver chapter, says she never has to call Cindy, either. “She is always the first to call me well in advance to get the necessary information to pass on to the members. If she can’t make a meeting, she lets you know. If she can’t do something she lets you know. If she says she’s going to do something, it gets done. I really appreciate this kind of reliability.”

Phoning might not seem like that big a deal, but what Cindy does has made a huge difference in our attendance. Phoning involves many hours each time. It reminds folks of the next meeting date and lets them know who our speakers or topics will be. Even the most loyal members can forget a meeting date when there are only five per year but it’s Cindy who gets the turnout for us.

“In my opinion, Cindy has been one of the main reasons why our attendance has remained consistent over the years,” says Deb.



Robert Crawford – Saskatoon Ostomy Association

Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford has been a member of the Saskatoon Ostomy Association for a number of years. He regularly attends meetings – in fact, the only time he missed a meeting was when he was in the hospital!

Robert is a friendly man and takes a special interest in greeting everyone at the meetings as they come in. He has taken charge of the 50/50 draws for the last number of years and always convinces people to contribute even when they thought they wouldn’t.

Robert always enlivens our annual Christmas social by donning his Santa suit and bringing joy to the boys and girls and adults that attend.

He and his wife, Bertha, have taken on the visiting committee chair for the last two years. They regularly talk to the ETs and to the visitors to make sure that every visit is a good one. They take a special interest in new patients and make sure that each is invited to a meeting and receives our bi-monthly newsletters.

Thank you Robert for making the Saskatoon Chapter a better chapter by being our “Unsung Hero”.

Irene SuretteSouth West Nova ScotiaFebruary 2010
Alfred ThébeauMoncton ChapterNovember 2010
Joan MancinelliRegina ChapterJanuary 2011
Lorette ComeauSouth West Nova Scotia Ostomy ChapterFebruary 2011
Alyson WalshHalifax ChapterFebruary 2011
Robert WychersOstomy TorontoApril 2012
Sharon and Gerald SheenCalgary Ostomy SocietyJune 2012
Joan PeddleMoncton ChapterJanuary 2013
Irene StaggHalifax ChapterApril 2016
Helmet Friesen **Winnipeg ChapterMay 2016
John McCormickOstomy Newfoundland and Labrador ChapterJanuary 2017
Emery Fanjoy **Halifax Ostomy SocietyJune 2017
Ann DeaseHalifax Ostomy SocietyJune 2018
Bea SpearsPictou Ostomy ChapterDecember 2018
Pat CimmeckCalgary Ostomy SocietyApril 2019
Christine MacCallumCharlottetown Ostomy Peer Support GroupMay 2019
Graham ThomasHalifax Ostomy SocietyMay 2019
Daryl Perry **Grand Falls-Windsor, NLJanuary 2020
** Deceased

Irene Surette – South West Nova Scotia Ostomy Chapter (February 2010)

Irene Surette is a significant other. Her husband, Mike, passed away several years ago, and since then she has remained a member of the South West Nova Scotia Ostomy chapter.

At every promotion, at every fund-raiser, at every meeting and at every function, Irene is present. There is never a gathering for which she doesn’t bake.  There is never a new member that she doesn’t support in her own special way. Irene’s pleasant manner, the twinkle in her eye, and her kind personality are assets to each and every member that comes our way. For our chapter to sing a tune for Irene is both enjoyable and rewarding.

Her husband, Mike, was President of our Chapter for 10 years and during those years Irene supported her husband’s responsibilities. She was also loyal to him with his health, surgery and living with an ostomy. Irene was always at his side at functions, meetings, and fundraisers. Once again, behind every good man stands a good woman and, in this case, it was, and still is, an attractive lady known as Irene.

Irene is a volunteer at the Yarmouth Food Bank, a member of the Yarmouth Garden Club, a member of the Lionettes and a fundraising chairperson of our chapter. She is very active in her own personal life such as shopping, cleaning, baking, gardening and sharing time with a very close friend who is very supportive of her and her interests. Irene has collected and packed supplies for third world countries for many years and still assists.

Alfred Thébeau – Moncton Chapter

Alfred Thebeau

Alfred Thebeau

Alfred Thébeau received a colostomy 19 years ago due to cancer. He has been married to Marie Celine for 43 years and has two children and three grandchildren. He is now retired, having worked for nine years as a mechanic, 10 as a Service Manager and 16 as a truck salesman, all with the same company,

Alfred was Moncton chapter president twice. The first time was for 4 ½ years and the 2nd for four years (2006-2010). Prior to being president, he was in charge of getting guest speakers for the meetings. He was co-chair of the annual UOAC conference in 2006 in Moncton. He worked very hard, along with his co-chair Minerva Holton, by getting speakers, doing fundraising and any other things that needed to be done. During the conference, Alfred ensured everything went smoothly. For the four days of the conference, Alfred and Marie Celine were available almost 24 hours a day.

Alfred is a certified visitor as well as a member of the telephone committee. He participates in any fundraising the chapter organizes. He has also attended a number of conferences. He says that he always learns something new during conferences and has made many new friends.

Alfred is a charter member, and now a life member, of the Irishtown Lions Club. He served as President, Secretary and visitation chairman of the Lions Club. He was also involved in the committee to build the Irishtown Community Centre in conjunction with the Lions Club. In 1990, he received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award given for Dedicated Humanitarian Services. At present, he is a member and treasurer of the Saint Antoine Gun Club.

During his spare time, Alfred’s passions are hunting, golf, watching hockey and walking. He also enjoys spending time at his camp.

Alfred likes making people laugh at meetings. He says that laughter is good medicine. Because of his friendly smile and always upbeat attitude, he is a joy to have at our meetings.

(Submitted by Eva Bordage of the Moncton Chapter)

Joan Mancinelli – Regina Chapter

Joan Mancinelli has had an ileostomy since 1980, due to Crohn’s Disease.

Joan Mancinelli

Joan Mancinelli

Thirty years ago, Joan joined the Regina Ostomy Chapter where she has worked tirelessly in various capacities. She served on the Phoning Committee for two years in the early 1980s and was also Chapter President for one year, in 1988. She has been an ostomy visitor for 25 years and since 1999, has also been head of the Visiting Committee, arranging visitor seminars, meeting occasionally with the ETs as well as arranging all the visits to patients in the hospital, including follow-up phone calls and reports to UOAC.

Joan sits on the Executive of the Chapter, helping to find speakers for the monthly meetings (which she rarely misses) and annual seminar. She works on the Xmas party committee each year and is a hard worker when it comes to setting up for meetings or special events. Whenever we need something done, we know Joan is the person to ask for help.

Last August, Joan attended the UOAC convention in Sydney, Nova Scotia, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and now plans to be present at the next convention in Toronto, 2012.

As if her work with the chapter weren’t enough, she has a son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. After a 29 year career as a secretary with the Saskatchewan Provincial Government, she retired in 1996 and presently works in a bakery, which she loves.

Joan is also a 40-year member of the Catholic Women’s League. She was once area coordinator for the annual Heart u0026amp; Stroke campaign as well as a door-to-door canvasser for the Cancer Society. She volunteers at the Regina Globe Theatre. Lately, Joan has become involved with Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers, the Stephen Lewis Foundation which raises money to help grandmothers in Africa raise their grandchildren, whose parents have died from HIV Aids. She also personally supports a child through World Vision. Last but not least, Joan has a keen interest in photography and shows herself as a true Saskatchewanite, with her avid interest in our beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders football team.

We salute Joan Mancinelli, whose dedication and support to other ostomates helps keep our Chapter going. This is why we nominate her to be our Unsung Hero.

Lorette Comeau – South West Nova Scotia Ostomy Chapter

Lorette Comeau

Lorette Comeau

Lorette Comeau is an ostomate who has been a South West Nova Scotia Ostomy member for many years. Her supportive husband, Robert, attends each and every meeting and event with her.

Robert and Lorette recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and have three sons, certainly living proof of their wedded bliss.

Lorette is our anchor in keeping us on top of our greetings. She listens and reads the news so that she misses no one. We always know that when called upon she will send out a get well wish or a sympathy card. She uses her good judgment on many occasions to send prayer cards. Lorette also forms part of our phone committee.

Lorette and Robert are very special people and we are thankful for their support and continuous attendance. We all want to express our praise and gratitude and truly believe that Lorette is an Unsung Hero.

Des notes de louange ‘a toi, Lorette.

Submitted by,
Ann Durkee
South West Nova Scotia Ostomy Chapter.

Alyson Walsh – Halifax Chapter

Alyson Walsh

Alyson Walsh

Alyson Walsh may be soft-spoken and shy, but she’s a human dynamo when it comes to getting things done.

The 64-year-old retired teacher from Dartmouth, married to husband Leo for 33 years, suffered from ulcerative colitis for six years before she finally convinced doctors that she needed, and desperately wanted, an ileostomy done so she could have an improved quality of life.

“My gastroenterologist had me on prednisone but it wasn’t really working well for me,” Alyson recalls. “Finally, much of what I was eating was pureed and life wasn’t great. I went to an information session with a group of gastroenterologists in Halifax and one surgeon suggested the operation would be better than staying on drugs. My doctor finally agreed, and the surgery was done in 2004.”

Alyson says she’s never regretted a minute. With no other health issues, she had a good recovery.

When Ann Ray, an Ostomy visitor of the Metro Halifax chapter, stopped in, Alyson was convinced to join. “I didn’t know people with ileostomies or urostomies, and had heard a bit of colostomies, but I went to the first meeting I could after I left the hospital.”

The chapter is forever grateful. Alyson, even though benefiting from meeting new people and learning from their experiences, pitched in immediately. She quickly became the refreshments coordinator, assisted on the chapter’s 35th-anniversary committee and 2009 World Ostomy Day Committee, plus her ability and love for knitting and crocheting has meant a boon to chapter fundraising as she prepares quilts and other items for the raffle. Her input has helped raise more than $1,000 in the last two years.

Even though she retired from elementary school teaching a dozen years ago, Alyson is never idle. She plays piano, knits, crochets, bowls in a regular league and bakes constantly.

“I’m never bored,” she says, eagerly anticipating starting another streak of attending Ostomy meetings, one broken by a major snowstorm January 9, 2011, after six years of never missing one. “I’ve learned so much, met wonderful people who gave me a sense of togetherness, everyone so friendly and nice. At that first meeting, I just felt we all had something in common and that never stops.”

Alyson brings Leo to every meeting (“I signed him as a member, too,” she says) and he’s now the main greeter at the door. “He’s shyer than me but he enjoys meeting people and talking with them. I think I can get him more involved, too.”

Robert Wychers – Ostomy Toronto

Robert WychersIf you’ve ever been to an Ostomy Toronto meeting, you’ve met Robert Wychers – Robert is our faithful greeter at the door and welcomes everyone with a smile, a name tag, and tickets for the 50/50 draw. If you haven’t met Robert yet, you will if you’re coming to the UOAC conference as he will be one of the people serving you coffee and offering conversation in our hospitality room. This job is perfectly suited to Robert and I’m sure by the conference, he will have met everyone. Robert rarely misses a meeting, brings all the AV equipment I can’t carry even though he too takes transit. He is the first one there to set up the room and put up signs at our new location is a bit of a maze and the last one to leave.

Robert has been our program director for many years, a member of our board and is always the first to volunteer to help. He brings an interesting perspective to all our meetings. This past year we’ve done a lot of displays and he takes our signs and all materials faithfully to each location – not an easy task by transit in a city the size of Toronto and he sometimes does more than one display a week. This year, he helped with the distribution of our new materials, a huge task that involved dropping packages with every ET and ostomy supplier in the GTA. He was also instrumental in finding our new meeting location when the church we were using was closing.

For everything Robert does, he truly deserves the title of Unsung Hero!

Sharon and Gerald Sheen – Calgary Ostomy Society



Sharon and Gerald Sheen have been members of the Calgary Ostomy Society for many years.

Gerald had ileostomy surgery for ulcerative colitis. Having an ostomy certainly hasn’t slowed either of them down. Gerald continued to work for many years and retired from professional life about three years ago. They have been a great support to our chapter and are always ready to lend a hand when needed.

When our social convener could no longer participate, the Sheens stepped right into the role. Every meeting they make the coffee set out the refreshments (most of which Sharon makes herself), serve and then clean up. They also look after our annual Christmas potluck, which is a tremendous undertaking.

Recently Calgary – CB Medical became the Western Canada depot for FOWC. The Sheens have been there to help sort and pack supplies for shipment to Toronto and countries that are in need of these supplies. They always make themselves available when there is an event to plan and participate in.

They are both very active in their church community. Sharon enjoys doing crafts and Gerald is perfecting his winemaking skills.

Joan Peddle – Moncton Chapter

Joan Peddle

Joan Peddle

Our unsung hero is our ET – Joan Peddle. Even though she is not an ostomate, she has helped make the Moncton Ostomy Chapter run smoothly. Joan has her RN, Bachelor of Nursing and Canadian Nursing Association certification in Community Health and Enterostomal Therapy. She has given 16 years or more years of service to community health care, working full time for the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program. She has been an ET nurse since 2006 and attends ET conferences to maintain her level of expertise. Joan also does volunteer work and is currently involved with a diabetic foot care peer education program through the Canadian Association of Wound care to support people with diabetes in caring for their feet.

Joan attends all Moncton chapter meetings and functions. She has attended and been involved in the Moncton Chapter cluster meetings and two visitor training sessions held in the Moncton area. She is involved in all chapter business as part of our Medical Advisory Board and is responsible for finding great guest speakers for our monthly meetings. She holds monthly Ostomy clinics at a local Lawton’s Pharmacy to help ostomates in the community. The purpose of these clinics is for Ostomates to be able to access the services of an ET nurse in the community, for consultations and to provide education about products that are available.

She is a great mentor for old and new ostomates; she gives family members support and she informs the community how important it is to give unused appliances to the chapter to send to Friends of Ostomates Worldwide Canada. In 2006, Moncton held the annual UOAC meeting and Joan was the chair for finance and registration. This meeting was very successful with over 200 participants. Joan was part of a great team of volunteers for our small numbers, but our Moncton Chapter has and always will be a great one to belong to.

Our chapter could use more people like Joan Peddle who makes the lives of all ostomates richer. For these reasons above, the Moncton Ostomy Chapter would like to nominate Joan Peddle for the unsung hero award.

Irene Stagg, Ostomy Halifax, April 2016

Irene Stagg

Irene Stagg

Irene Stagg gives so much to Ostomy Halifax. Irene is quiet and goes about helping others with no fanfare or desire for praise. She just gets the job done.

A retired nurse after 38 years of service who looks as though she must have started her career at age 10, Irene “solved” her Crohn’s problem with an irreversible ileostomy in 1981.

She immediately joined the Halifax chapter and has been volunteering ever since. Starting as a member of the youth group, Irene looked after grocery tapes, totalling them for rebates that could be used for chapter funding. She was an interim treasurer, served on the organizing committees for the chapter’s 25th and 40th anniversaries, was a certified visitor and, five years ago, took over as visitor chair.

“The late Olive Jackson became chapter vice-president and had to give up visitor chair,” Irene recalls. “(member) Gail Creelman held my hand up as the next chair and whispered to me, ‘I’ll help you’, and that’s how it happened.”

She also handles the Ostomy Halifax phone line, answering questions and solving problems for new and experienced ostomates.

In her key role as Volunteer Visitor Coordinator, Irene receives calls from the ETs with names of those who have recently had surgery. Irene links the patients to chapter visitors of the same age, gender, and ostomy type, not always an easy task.

Irene also coordinates Visitor Training Sessions. Visitors must complete a national certification every three years. Irene keeps track of who needs training, works with the ETs to develop the training materials, coordinates the sessions, the delivery of the training, and the provision of information to the national office.

Not content to be idle, Irene volunteers once a week, assisting patients to negotiate their way through the hospital in which she worked for 31 years.

She is a true unsung hero at Ostomy Halifax.

Helmut Friesen – Unsung Hero – Posthumously, May 2016

Helmet Friesen

Helmet Friesen

Helmut Friesen was a member of the Winnipeg Ostomy Association since 1992 as a cancer survivor and an ostomate. Fortunately for us, the Winnipeg Ostomy Association was one of Helmut’s great passions and he worked diligently to offer emotional support, experienced and practical help to all who walked through our doors.

Any new ostomate was greeted at our meetings by Helmut, hand outstretched, a smile on his face and armed with a fountain of knowledge to share.

Helmut was always respectful, a wonderful advocate for those living with an ostomy and worked to make their lives easier in some way. His great knowledge of the Government Health system, and his untiring lobbying was instrumental in the successful bid to maintain our very important and unique Manitoba Ostomy Program. His dedication to the Winnipeg Ostomy Association was very evident in every involvement.

When he was 1st Vice-President, Helmut was the kind of person who allowed mistakes without being picky, listened to ideas and problems, suggested other options with wisdom, and let people grow. When he had an idea, he was patient but determined. He knew when to push and when to back off.

His ability to speak to ostomates and give encouragement and advice was evident at all the meetings and educational sessions. Helmut was a certified visitor, reliable, caring, insightful and always ready to respond to requests for a visit.

His upbeat attitude was a great example of someone successfully living with an ostomy.

Helmut took on the responsibility, almost single-handedly, of collecting unused ostomy supplies from different sources in Manitoba. He created a pick-up team, figured out the correct way to sort and package the supplies, worked out a cost-saving arrangement with a transport company to ship the supplies to the collection depot in Ontario. Countless hours of phone calls, pick-ups, and sorting and packing were all part of his ongoing work behind the scenes.

Helmut was the one constant figure in our Winnipeg Ostomy family. His commitment and strengths served us very well. In fact, I think we could call him our statesman, our patriarch, our pillar of strength.

John McCormick – Ostomy Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter – January 2017

John McCormickJohn McCormick has been a member of the Ostomy Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter since he was diagnosed in 2001 with bladder cancer.
John has been the driving force of our Fundraising Committee since 2006.
John’s motto is that if there is a child in Newfoundland u0026amp; Labrador wanting to go to Camp Horizon well we will make sure he or she goes.
John starts in early September and visits every business there is in St. John’s, Mount Pearl and Trinity North looking for a donation for either our Christmas dinner or our annual Spring BBQ.
John is the type of person who throws himself into the fundraising project without having to be asked.
John, we really appreciate everything you do for our chapter and the children of our province.
Thank you so very much.

Emery Fanjoy – Halifax Ostomy Society – June 2017

Emery Fanjoy

Emery Fanjoy

Emery Fanjoy has been the backbone of Halifax Ostomy Society since the fall of 2010.
“My wife, Nan, had emergency ileostomy surgery in June 2010,” he recalls. “We accepted it immediately as our new reality. I helped Nan manage it for about three months and then she took over the task completely. Being an R.N., she was used to such matters. The ostomy didn’t affect our quality of life in any way.”
Emery, an electrical engineer who turned to sales and marketing and then to an executive role in the public sector, admits to being a curious type. He saw a brochure (for Ostomy Halifax) on a hospital bulletin board and he and Nan decided to investigate.
Emery accompanied Nan to that first meeting and immediately got involved. Both became certified visitors. Nan contributed baking and sandwich-making to monthly meetings as well as offering her cheery personality to chapter members and newcomers.
Never one to seek an executive role in the chapter but to work behind the scenes, Emery used his knowledge gleaned in many years of private and public sector work to help move the chapter forward. He assisted in improving financial reporting. He spearheaded a revision of the goals, values and mission statement of the chapter, resulting in more people with energy joining the board and executive.
He guided a committee to spread letters to each of 76 pharmacies in the Halifax area, letters distributed to customers buying ostomy supplies. The letters encouraged ostomates to talk to a certified visitor if they were experiencing difficulties, something many people are reluctant to do.
He arranged an ostomy speaker to appear at the annual meeting of Doctors Nova Scotia to make family physicians more aware of ostomies and the patients.
With others, he coordinated the program, and arranged many of the speakers, for the very successful Ostomy Outreach Atlantic, held in April 2017 in Truro NS with more than 150 attendees. He emceed the event and introduced the speakers.
“From that first meeting we attended seven years ago, I was impressed with the people who do so much for ostomates,” Emery says. “It was just automatic for me to help out, coming from a family that was very involved.”

Ann Dease – Halifax Ostomy Society – June 2018

Ann Dease

Ann Dease

In 2002, new ileostomate Ann Dease attended the national United Ostomy Association of Canada conference in Halifax. She had her surgery, after suffering from ulcerative colitis for many years, four months earlier, in May 2002. She knew she had questions, knew she needed answers and found the right people to support her. Ann joined Ostomy Halifax Society that fall and has served the chapter in several capacities ever since.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Ann moved to Nova Scotia in 1976 and fell in love with where she had Acadian roots. In fact, her family name is on a plaque at Grand Pre, indicating they were part of the 1755 Grand Derangement/Expulsion of the Acadians.

Now in her 60s, married with two grown sons, Ann has worked part-time with Halifax Municipal Department of Recreation, both with preschoolers and also “running” the Front Desk at her local Community Centre in Fall River.

She is never shy about volunteering, both for Ostomy Halifax and in the wider community. She is the chapter historian, keeping accurate records and scrapbooks of pictures of chapter happenings and also chapter librarian. She served briefly as chapter vice-president but says she would rather work behind the scenes. Ann was an ostomy visitor, vigorously sells raffle tickets within the chapter and helps set up the hospitality tables at each monthly meeting.

Ann has been a volunteer patient for Dalhousie University’s first-year medical students for six years, enabling them to learn how to work with patients, do patient interviews, and, more importantly, teaching them how people living with ostomies get along every day and have full and satisfying lives.

“I love their enthusiasm, their eagerness to learn. It makes me feel young,” remarks Ann. “I love being able to give back.”

And Ostomy Halifax is appreciative of Ann’s enthusiasm for giving back, too.

Bea Spears – Pictou Ostomy Chapter – December 2018

Bea Spears

Bea Spears

Bea Spears, longtime treasurer of the Pictou Ostomy Chapter, was a loving and kind person, devoted to her family, friends, and people living with an ostomy.

After years of suffering from Chron’s Disease, Bea had ostomy surgery and became a faithful member of the chapter. Even after numerous surgeries and untold medical problems, she was always there to lean on and quietly guided the membership through many situations along the way.

She spent hours working in getting the chapter’s visitation rights at our local hospital, refusing to give up until she recently achieved her goal before she passed away. Bea was always willing to listen and helped many during her years with us.

Bea will always be loved and never forgotten for all her kind ways and hard work. Bea Spears will be remembered for her mind, heart, and soul in the ostomy world and sincerely missed by her family.

Pat Cimmeck – Calgary Ostomy Society – April 2019


Pat Cimmeck

Pat Cimmeck

Pat Cimmeck has dedicated a large portion of her life to Ostomy Canada Society (formerly UOAC).
She has been President and past President of UOAC, served as President and past President of the North and Central America and Caribbean Ostomy Association, is a Director on the FOW(C) BOD, has been President of the Calgary Ostomy Society for many years, and has volunteered for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in Calgary.
Pat received the Renaissance Great Comebacks Award in 1999 and Ostomy Canada Society’s Maple Leaf Award in 2010.
However, another area of volunteerism to which Pat has devoted countless hours is as an Ostomy Canada Youth Camp Administrator – 27 years of countless hours!
Being an administrator of youth camp held at Easter Seals Camp Horizon is a year-round job that she manages with full dedication and passion. During the last two years, due to Pat’s family issues, Camp Co-Administrator Lisa Gausman has taken on a lot of the duties.
“Camp is so much work and I find it impossible to fathom how she has run it practically solo for so many years,” says Lisa. “I cannot tell you how many times I have said, ‘That woman deserves a medal!’”
Maybe there’s no medal to give to Pat but she certainly deserves recognition as an Unsung Hero for the hard work and dedication she has shown the kids, and their parents, in ensuring their camp experience is one they’ll cherish – and definitely never forget.
She has changed so many lives for the better. For that, we thank Pat Cimmeck.

Christine MacCallum – Charlottetown Ostomy Peer Support Group – May 2019

Christine MacCallum – An Unsung Hero

Christine MacCallum

Christine MacCallum

One doesn’t need to shed blood just to become a hero. Touching lives and making a difference is enough. Ostomy Support Groups are our modern-day support systems and Christine MacCallum, a Facilitator of the Charlottetown Ostomy Peer Support Group gives her best to implement support, promote awareness and assist people living with ostomies. She gives her best to form a bond between her Group, NSWOC Nurses and the Government of Prince Edward Island. Her Group says during difficult times she lends a shoulder for all to cry on or lends an ear to listen to their woes. Christine is well respected by her Peers.
“Seek first to understand then be understood”, these are wise words by Stephen Covey, keynote speaker, and author. These words follow Christine from emergency surgery in 2003 to her present-day involvement with her Ostomy Peer Support Group. Following her surgery in 2003 complications set in and more surgeries followed. She was told death was inevitable. In 2005 she was discharged from a Halifax Hospital and for five years she “Sought to understand.”
In the following years, she tried to understand why there wasn’t more support, more coverage and more methods to engage with others living with ostomies.
In 2017 she finally realized what “Seek first to understand then be understood” meant. What followed was her determination to form an Ostomy Group in Charlottetown. With the assistance of Ostomy Canada and Atlantic’s Regional Administrator, she formed the Charlottetown Ostomy Peer Support Group. She sought community support, an awareness plan, and a free meeting place. She didn’t stop there; she solicited government support, NSWOC Nurses and the professional health system that already existed. Their first meeting consisted of 11 people who all shared the same goals as did Christine. She listened with the intent to understand how each person in attendance felt. Their concerns and anxiety were identical to hers. She felt that now she could continue with the drive to improve their lives living with an ostomy on their island.
Next followed meetings, more attendees, more publicity, more health professionals and government contacts. With the support she needed and the interest in her mission for government coverage for ostomy supplies her plea landed on the desk of the Honorable Robert Mitchell, Minister of Health. More publicity, more emotional drive and more support resulted in more government discussions and finally, hope for coverage was within arms reach.
At this time, Christine realized that only 10 percent of communication is through words we say, she had to act, she had to show the government why, so she planned a National Stoma Stroll. Its main purpose is to fundraise for people living with ostomies, however, Christine’s main purpose was to create awareness. The date was set, plans were made and most important, invitations were sent out to the Minister of Health, Robert Mitchell, members of each party on the island and all members of parliament. She also invited the local newspapers, local TV stations, and business people. She didn’t miss any form of media she could think of. Awareness, she would make.
The Stoma Stroll was a success with 92 walkers in attendance; a celebration, T-shirts, refreshments and lots of bystanders watching. They even had a gentleman living with an ostomy propose to his girlfriend. There were diamonds in the air that sunny day in Charlottetown.
Following the Stoma Stroll, Christine and some 600 people living with ostomies on the island were rewarded. The Government of Prince Edward Island announced its program to provide financial support to individuals who require ostomy supplies.
Charlottetown Ostomy Peer Support Group presently has over 70 people attend their meetings. Christine continues to focus on awareness. She continues to understand her own health and the anxiety that comes with an ostomy. It is generally believed that Christine has adopted Covey’s quote: “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”
These wise words are very fitting of CHRISTINE MACCALLUM, who in her plight, has made people on the island including the members of the legislature “Understand” and we, in turn, feel that Christine MacCallum is one of Atlantic’s UNSUNG HEROS.
Submitted by,
Charlottetown Ostomy Peer Support Group

Graham Thomas – Halifax Ostomy Society – May 2019

Graham Thomas – An Unsung Hero

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas

Graham Thomas is a man who, when he says he’ll do something, jumps in with both feet and unparalleled enthusiasm to get the job done.
Living with a urostomy since 2012, he joined Ostomy Halifax within a few weeks of his surgery and has been an active participant in chapter activities since.
Ostomies weren’t foreign to Graham when he had his surgery. The long-time Halifax resident was a Coloplast representative in 1972 and was named Coloplast Salesperson of the Year in 1973. He had called on Ruth Kenney, an ET nurse in Halifax (now NSWOC) and was invited to the inaugural meeting of Ostomy Halifax in 1973.
Graham has always been a volunteer in various groups and organizations but it’s been Ostomy Halifax that has benefitted from his go-getter attitude for the past seven years.
He chaired a wonderfully successful Atlantic regional conference in Truro, NS, in 2016, arranging for many of the speakers, booking the hotel and all the amenities that went with it, and coordinated the two-day event.
He planned and implemented an approach to area drug stores to promote in-store Ostomy visiting programs. He has co-chaired the last two Halifax Stoma Strolls and was instrumental in raising record numbers for the chapter while coordinating many of the details of the event.
He has made 49 visits to urostomy patients since becoming a registered visitor.
He is serving his third term as chapter vice-president.
In August 2019, Graham will be a tour guide for spouses and significant others at Ostomy Canada’s AGM in Fall River, NS – and with his outgoing personality and knowledge of the local areas, is guaranteed to be entertaining and educating.
Graham also volunteers as a greeter-guide-comforter for visitors to a local hospital.
There are many who attend chapter meetings and contribute in small ways, but Graham Thomas goes well beyond the norm. He is an appreciated, dedicated chapter member and AN UNSUNG HERO.

Submitted by Joel Jacobson, Ostomy Halifax Awards chair


Daryl Perry

Daryl Perry

In less than 18 months, Daryl Perry of Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, made such an impact on friends and people living with an ostomy that he became an Unsung Hero to many.
When Ostomy NL chapter 604 sought interest in forming a satellite in Darryl’s home area in February 2018, Darryl was first through the door at the informational meeting. He showed a commitment, drive, and compassion for people living with an ostomy, and became a leader in generating the Exploits Satellite Chapter.
Immediately accepting the presidency, he spearheaded the executive and members to great success in the two years until his passing June 27, 2019, bringing his enthusiasm and positive attitude to all around him.
In addition, Daryl, who worked as an independent contractor, power saw operator and eventually a heavy equipment operator, was very well known in the Grand Falls-Windsor area for his sincere and passionate commitment to the ostomy community, as well as anyone in need.
Married for 31 years, with four children and three grandchildren who were loved passionately, and returned that love equally, Daryl retired in 2007 when, after many years of hard labor, he transitioned into disability. He then focused on family and a love of cooking.
This Unsung Hero, a caring and devoted man, will be sorely missed by members of Ostomy NL Chapter 604 in St. John’s.