Jo describes herself as fairly solitary and didn’t knowingly speak to anyone else with a stoma until 2013 when she joined a Facebook support group (Ostomy Lifestyle Athletes) and found “it was just good to be able to speak candidly to people who completely understood where I was coming from.”
Jo says she gained strength and confidence from the friendships she has made via the group and has since “come out of the ostomy closet” by taking part in the Amcare Group Body Image film project and joining the Advocate team. “As an Advocate my role is to speak about my experiences with an ostomy in the hope it will help people facing surgery to know that you can live a full life without limits.” Jo has a special interest in providing resources for people with ostomies who are also part of the LGBT community and those who are visually or hearing impaired.
Although it has been hard for Jo to talk publicly about herself she says “If I can help just one person come to terms with living with a stoma then everything I have been through, including my extreme discomfort at being videoed and public speaking, will have been worth it.” Her attitude now is “Having a stoma is simply a different way to go to the loo! Once you adjust there are no limitations. Life is what you make it.”
"I love spending time with my dogs walking on the beach. I volunteer for UK-GSR Angels which is a charity that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes German Shepherd Dogs."
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