Well that was a good run…not! Blogtober came to a rather abrupt halt as I have been having internet issues. You may have noticed a dip in my social media use too, as although I could get online on my phone, the signal is decidedly dodgy! I hope to continue the rest of the month as planned and will try and catch up on the missing posts but I am not going to stress myself out to do it.
Today I thought I would tell you a bit more about the IA – how I came across them, what they do and why I chose to get involved.
The Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Association (IA) is a registered charity which aims to support ileostomates, those with internal pouches, their friends, families and carers.
In 2018 latest figures report over 9000 new ileostomies being created annually (NHS website 2018) and over 400 new ileoanal pouches (ileoanal pouch report 2017)iasupport.org
I had previously heard about the IA but didn’t know anyone involved so didn’t really take the time to check it out sooner. In March I was asked to do my first speech at their Information Event in Birmingham. I was absolutely over the moon to be asked and obviously said yes! I was asked to do a speech about dressing with an ostomy and family life as part of the Young IA workshop session. I was also asked to join the panel which featured some amazing ostomates, to answer questions based on our experiences. It was great having the five of us, all with similar and different journeys and advice, which meant there was a lot of help dished out on the day.
See my speech over on my YouTube channel
I really enjoyed the whole day, including meeting some fabulous people like Tomas The Stoma author, Clare who I didn’t realise lived about 20 minutes away from me and was involved with the committee of my local Young IA group in Notts and Derby.
I decided to become a member after the event as I had really enjoyed it and received a lovely welcome from everyone I met. I also got the information for my local group, from which I obviously already knew Clare.
Joining is really easy and available online or by post. Yearly membership is £15 for people under 60 and £10 if you are over. You will receive the IA Journal quarterly, can receive a visit from one of the team from the Visiting Service either in hospital or at home and will be invited to events both locally, as well as being invited to attend the larger IA events.
After seeing Clare at the Information Day event, I then spoke to her and we arranged to go for a coffee with the Notts and Derby Young IA chair and secretary, Brigitte. It s great chatting to them both and hearing about what my local group do to support other ostomates in the area. I wasn’t scared off, so was invited to the next committee meeting.
Obviously, disaster struck and I ended up getting my knee stuck bent again and in A+E instead of at the meeting! I did make it to the next one (in my new, jazzy leg brace) and it was lovely meeting the team.
I am now an official committee member after receiving the official confirmation from head office. I am really excited to be helping to run the IA stall later this week at the Derby Stoma Care Open Day and have also arranged a coffee morning in Derby for next week.
If you live locally to Derby or Nottingham and would like to see what future events are coming up, check out our website. It would be lovely to see some new faces and everybody is really friendly! Officially the ‘young’ branches cater for those 40 and under but we are a varied bunch of all ages and with ostomies and pouches for all different reasons.
Please feel free to pop me a message or leave a comment below if you are interested in joining the IA. Even if you aren’t in my local area, I will be able to locate what will be your nearest group and get your their contact details.