Ostomies are lifesaving and life-changing. They do not hold you back.

Models living with an Ostomy at the International Fashion Encounter event

On September 22, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, with the help of Coloplast Canada and The Ostomy Canada Society, participated in a fashion show that featured seven “ostomates” – people living with an ostomy - as runway models at the International Fashion Encounter (IFE) in Toronto.

It was an awe-inspiring event that helped the world know a little bit more about ostomies, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. Check out our Flickr album for photos from the event and our YouTube summary video.

Find out more about ostomy surgery

What is an ostomy?

An ostomy is a surgery to reroute the colon to come out of the abdomen when the natural digestive pathway is compromised by disease. It means the person wears a bag connected to where the colon exits the body. Find out more about ostomies

Despite advancements in therapies, approximately 80 per cent of people with Crohn’s and 20 per cent of those with colitis will require surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery often includes the creation of either a temporary or a permanent stoma, also known as an ostomy. A stoma is an opening from the end of your intestine inside your body to the outside surface of your abdomen. An external bag is then attached to the stoma to collect waste.  

About 10 per cent of people with Crohn’s disease, and up to 50% of people with ulcerative colitis, will need a permanent ostomy at a certain stage of their disease course. 

People with Crohn’s or colitis often say that the potential need for an ostomy is among their top concerns when it comes to treatment. Based on your individual needs, ostomies can be permanent or temporary. J-pouch surgeries avoid needing a permanent stoma in the abdomen. In J-pouch surgeries, a pouch shaped like the letter J from the end of the small intestine is created and attached to the rectum.

What’s going on in October

Education Events

Learn more about ostomies and how they can help with the management of Crohn’s or colitis.

Sign up for our special Gusty Learning Series, Surgery and Ostomies 101 taking place virtually on October 24 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm ET, to hear an expert medical perspective on these treatment options, including types of surgery, types of ostomies (permanent vs. temporary), and the benefits and risks of surgery.

Register today and ask your questions for the expert ahead of time. Can’t join us live? Register for the event and we will send you a link to the recording. This event will be offered in English, with live simultaneous French interpretation.

Meet the Speakers!

Marc Rouleau is from Sainte-Marguerite, Quebec, and is a proud husband and father of two. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1994. He has often been hospitalized and has undergone several surgeries, including a complete colon removal (colectomy). Today, Marc is a valued Gutsy Peer Support mentor with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. He is also actively involved in his community, has a fulfilling career, and follows his passion for skiing. His life is marked by his determination to overcome the challenges of his disease, and he hopes to inspire others in similar situations. 

Chantal Leduc is a nurse clinician specializing in pediatric ostomy therapy at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) Sainte-Justine. She has been with the hospital for 35 years, and over the past 23 years has developed expertise in wound and ostomy care. She acts as a resource person for staff, collaborating with medical teams and families. Involved in training programs at the hospital and in the healthcare network, she works to create the right conditions for skills acquisition and team development. 

Want to get involved?

If you feel like getting involved and joining in on raising awareness and celebrating our community of “ostomates,” share your stories with us on social media. Tag us @getgutsycanada or reach out to us on Facebook @ Crohn’s and Colitis Canada / Crohn et Colite Canada.

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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