27 Jul A Future Shattered
When I started Uncover Ostomy, I was destined to change the future.
To me, the future involved a society free of ostomy stigma where it was simply a normal medical procedure done to save lives.
No one would think they were strange. No one would be embarrassed to have one.
It was not long after the launch of the campaign that I began to see this future budding in the young ostomates I came to meet. They would tell me that they knew about Uncover Ostomy and wanted to share their ostomy just like I had.
It was one special ostomate, however, who actually did show off her ostomy just like me.
Not long after Uncover Ostomy’s launch did Alison Atkins take the campaign into her own hands and had her own Uncover Ostomy pictures done:
“This girl,” I thought, “was the future of ostomy awareness.” She embodied everything I was hoping to instill in ostomates everywhere. The day I saw this picture on her Facebook page was the day I knew I was actually doing something good.
This is why it breaks my heart to have to say that Alison, in the coming hours, will pass away.
She is currently on life support at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, on life support-life support just long enough to let her family and friends say goodbye.
This morning, Alison’s sister, Jaclyn, had informed she had been found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital. At 6pm this evening, her sister contacted me once again to tell me it was time to say goodbye.
I went down the hospital and was greeted by Jaclyn, who took me into the room. We passed through a hallway that was flooded with people there for support. Her room, too, was full of people. I walked in and was met by her mother, Lyn, who held me tight and cried in my arms. I then hugged her father Gary, wishing this was a dream. I then walked over to her bed, and said my goodbyes to Alison.
As I stood in the waiting area later in the evening, I was met by Alison’s cousin. She asked me if I was Jessica, and I said yes. She then began to tell me how much Alison spoke of Uncover Ostomy and how she completed accepted her ostomy because of the campaign. Alison’s grandmother came up to me right after, saying the same thing and thanking me.
As I was leaving, I said goodbye to Lyn, who, as she held me tight once again, told me she had wished tjat Alison would embody me in the future.
I had wished that too.
I will never forget the feelings of inspiration and fulfillment that this little girl has given to me. She was the tangible proof that Uncover Ostomy was working. She was that reason that I do what I do.
I will never forget this precious little girl.
Love you, Alison.