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Jurassic fundraising walk to tackle ‘stoma stigma’

Jurassic fundraising walk to tackle ‘stoma stigma’

Su Dave and members of the Stoma Care team at the RD&E
Su Dave and members of the Stoma Care team at the RD&E

Members of a newly-formed stoma support group in Honiton are inviting people to help to tackle ‘stoma stigma’ by joining them on a 20-mile coast path walk from Seaton to Exmouth this September.

The Get Guts Jurassic Coast Walk on September 7 will also be raising money for Royal Devon Hospitals Charity.

The charity walk is being organised by Su Dave, who runs the Get Guts support group, which meets every first Monday of the month at St Paul’s Church.

Su, who has had stoma surgery herself, said she started the free group to help show people how to get the most out of their new lives with a stoma.

“We combine chatting, advice, neurolinguistic programming techniques and physical exercise for anyone with a stoma, no matter how you acquired it,” said Su, a qualified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner from Upottery.

“As a group we wanted to get fit and show the world that having a stoma doesn’t stop you from doing anything in life.

“This is a condition that most people don’t want to talk about let alone raise money for, so we have opened up the walk to everyone to raise awareness of stoma surgery, remove some of the stigma, and help bring together a community who often feel alone.

“If it’s successful it is something we would like to do annually.”

Su said that after her own surgery, she became the fittest she had ever been.

“My stoma hasn’t stopped me from doing anything from skydiving, to open water swimming and rock climbing,” she said.

Anyone is welcome to take part in the walk and there are shorter distances of 16, 10 and four miles also available with staggered starts at Branscombe, Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton.

Entry is £15 and includes a free t-shirt. Fundraising is optional and any money raised will help buy a new treatment couch for the stoma department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E).

“The group wished to raise some money for the stoma department to say thank-you for being so wonderful,” added Su.

“We are delighted that some of the stoma nurses, specialist nurses and surgeons and consultants will be joining in on the walk.

“This is an area of medicine which is brushed under the carpet and never talked about but we on the other hand are confident enough to shout about it from the hilltops.”

Tom Darby-Clark, assistant fundraiser at Royal Devon Hospitals Charity, said Su and the group had done a brilliant job organising the walk, which will start at 8.30am and is expected to finish between 5pm and 7pm.

“The Jurassic Coast walk is a fantastic challenge and Su’s event is not only raising money to help power up our local NHS, it will also show the world that having a stoma doesn’t stop you from doing anything.” To register to take part in the Get Guts Jurassic Coast Walk, email email getgutsstomagroup@yahoo.com or call 07807 713816.

To support the group’s fundraising for the stoma department at the RD&E, click here.

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