CAFE is delighted to be supporting Colostomy UK and their #StomaAware Day, a worldwide celebration of life with a stoma and a chance to raise awareness. 

Each year, the first Saturday in October marks International Ostomy Day with NGOs across the globe, including Colostomy UK, working to stop prejudice and discrimination whilst empowering people with stomas to access the information and support they need. 

A stoma is a surgically-created opening in the abdomen diverting the flow of bodily waste from a damaged or non-functioning bowel and/or bladder, allowing it to be collected in a bag. 

People can have a stoma for a number of reasons including diverticulitis, cancer, Crohn's and Colitis, childbirth, trauma and medical negligence.

Approximately 10 million people around the world have inflammatory bowel disease and in Europe alone approximately 700,000 people have a stoma.

Ostomates may become disabled if there are inadequate facilities for changing a stoma hygienically, or if they are barred from using an accessible toilet for not "looking" like a disabled person. Along with other non-visibly disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, people who have stomas are often overlooked in accessibility literature and when considering accessible matchday experiences. 

Many ostomates will not use accessible security lanes as they will have general admission tickets, therefore it is imperative that all security staff are trained to recognise and search people with stomas. Ostomates are also likely to be carrying spare bags and necessary cleaning equipment, which should all be permitted into the stadium, including bottled water. 

It is equally important that once inside the stadium ostomates are able to sit within reasonable distance of facilities where they are able to change their stoma hygienically. In addition, all male, female and accessible toilets should be equipped with sanitary waste bins.

Libby Herbert, General Manager of Colostomy UK and member of the CAFE Non-Visible Disabilities Working Group, commented, “Having a stoma can save someone’s life.  A lot of people living with a stoma face prejudice and discrimination when using accessible toilets because their condition is invisible.

"If we all became Stoma Aware and understood the needs of people with non-visible conditions then this abuse would diminish and help to make football a more inclusive environment.”

CAFE is committed to a pan-disability approach: providing an inclusive matchday experience for all differently disabled people. While improvements have been made across the world of football for many disabled people, there remains a lack of understanding around non-visible disabilities and long-term health conditions. 

For this reason, CAFE is proud to support #StomaAware Day 2020 and Colostomy UK. For more information, please visit the Colostomy UK website. 

Published 02/10/2020.