In life, some people enter our lives for a reason and can be a catalyst to a new ‘you’ either directly or indirectly. Lauren Henderson the founder of the Purple Wings Charity was definitely one of these people...
I could go back further and say without starting my blog I would not have all these amazing ostomates in my life and be part of a community that I did not know existed 5 years previously with a stoma. This year it seems the universe has been on my side and people have entered my life one after the other and amazing opportunities have arisen. I cannot mention Lauren without mentioning "The IBD and Ostomy Support Show" another amazing opportunity that came my way where we talk about topics regarding having an ostomy. Every Thursday at 8pm UK time I do the show with the amazing girls and the lovely Steve. I first met Lauren as a guest host on the show and was blown away how down to earth she was and very passionate about wanting to help fellow ostomates. It's amazing that Lauren has achieved her dreams and took the chance to start a charity while working pretty much full time...
I must add. When we did a show with Lauren in March, which you can Watch here.... I never knew then how much Purple Wings would help me...
The Purple Wings Ball
This event was very important to me in my ‘Ostomy’ journey in many ways.
- It was where my online support finally became real and I met these amazing people in person! This was the first time we have all met from the show (except Natalie but soon). It was so surreal and amazing and very overwhelming. I will never get used to people coming up to me saying that they watch you on the show and how much you have helped them.
- First time in my life I think I felt 100% comfortable with no drink in me and truly enjoyed the night. The thought that the majority of us in the room had stomas was breathtaking and refreshing.
- The week before the ball I finished with my ex and decided to still go to the ball on my own. This may not seem that epic but for me it really was. I have not left Bournemouth travelling on my own for 5 years. Not only did I go totally on my own but I attempted the tube changes and didn’t get lost. When I arrived I felt empowered and so proud. Even my very close mates were all shocked that I attempted it.
The ball in itself has enabled me to have the confidence to go places and travel on my own. Due to this I went to Birmingham on the weekend again on my own for the Convatec event on Sunday. I would not have done this if I hadn’t of stepped out of my comfort zone and gone to the ball.
I hate the word ‘inspiring’ and ‘strong’ however when I was in that room listening to the ostomates stories I truly felt inspired and I felt the strength of the room. That night was a major game changer for me and I saw the community as ‘people’ and not just online groups and messages. I will endeavour next year to make sure all my local ostomates know about it because I think as an ostomate it is something that every ostomate should definitely experience. I felt empowered and could take on the world!.......
My grant for £100 Jasmine Stacey Voucher
So last week Lauren was in Bournemouth on holiday and we organised to meet for brunch with Jasmine Stacey. I was planning on purchasing some underwear from Jasmine anyway and was shocked when Lauren handed me the Jasmine Stacey Collection (JSC) voucher and said they did a grant for me.
I genuinely didn’t expect it and was so blown away I felt very tearful. In my life, I have never felt I have truly belonged anywhere and always felt like an outsider. Now having 2 stoma bags on my tummy and other medical problems I finally have somewhere I truly belong and have made amazing friends. In a way I am grateful for my stomas and would not have met the amazing people, I have and had the opportunities that are coming to me without them. That day I really felt the love from both Lauren and Jasmine. I got home and sobbed out of gratitude.
I genuinely felt loved and accepted. When I put on Jasmine's underwear I felt sexy, confident, empowered and all woman!! Thanks to Jasmine Stacey Collection underwear I felt like a human with superpowers and I was totally transformed.
So here are a few pictures that I took of myself in Jasmine's beautiful underwear that I took myself (which was a challenge lol)
The purple wings charity has done a phenomenal job considering it is a small charity and has no government funding. However in order for Lauren and her team to help and support other ostomates the charity need funding from you guys!! Please keep this charity in mind if you fancy doing a sponsored walk, run or parachute jump. Since Lauren appeared on the show my mum has said she wants to help raise money for Purple Wings.
Thank you Purple Wings for helping build my confidence up both indirectly and directly at a time when I didn’t realise how lost I was!