History of the Vancouver Chapter
The Vancouver Chapter of the United Ostomy Association began as the dream of Miss May Fawcett, a forthright, outspoken, Fort Macleod, Alberta, school teacher who moved to Vancouver in the 1950’s and worked as a salesperson for a major Vancouver Printer, until her passing in St. Paul’s Hospital in 1987.
May had her ileostomy surgery in 1967 at St. Paul’s and soon discovered there was no organized help or support for ostomates in British Columbia. Once they left the hospital, new ostomates pretty much had to experiment and figure things out on their own with the help of eager, but inexperienced salespersons in the ostomy appliance retail shops. Miss Fawcett, mercifully, set out to change all that.
In 1968, with the help of her surgeon, Dr. E. N. McHammond and his brilliant and dedicated associate, the now retired, Dr. Kenneth Atkinson, May set about organizing a local support group for new and existing ostomates in the Vancouver area and in the summer of 1968 the Ileostomy Association of British Columbia (IABC) was registered as a non-profit Society with the Provincial Government in Victoria, with May as President and Bea Brail as Treasurer. There were 30 members, annual membership fees were $3.00 and monthly meetings were held at G. F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre at 900 West 27th.
From the beginning the IABC affiliated with the United Ostomy Association in the USA, headquartered in Los Angeles. Miss Fawcett also volunteered as a Provincial Representative and was instrumental in organizing Ostomy Chapters throughout British Columbia and Alberta.
In November of 1970 the IABC became the United Ostomy Association of British Columbia and later the Vancouver Chapter of the UOA.
Membership grew steadily through the early 1970’s reaching its peak of 450 members in the Spring of 1976, but with the introduction of more advanced surgical techniques, trained ostomy nurses, improved ostomy appliances, and a ton of information on ostomy internet websites, membership has slowly decreased to its current level of 150.
On June 12, 2000, the Vancouver Chapter, along with almost all other Canadian Chapters, bid a fond, thankful, and we’ll-miss-you farewell to the wonderfully helpful UOA in the USA and joined the new Canadian group, the United Ostomy Association of Canada, an organization formed in 1999, after lengthy and tireless efforts of the late Alan Porter of the Hamilton, Ontario chapter.
By Fred Green
Membership in the Vancouver chapter is open to all persons interested in ostomy rehabilitation, education and welfare. Many of our members do not have ostomies, but have a personal interest in the fortunes of those who do. Annual membership fees are $30.00. Members receive 6 issues of the Vancouver newsletter HighLife in whichever medium they prefer -- hard copy or electronic -- and 2 issues of Ostomy Canada magazine. Meetings are held 4 times yearly (Feb, April, June and September (AGM) at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver.
Membership fees and donations enable us to rent our meeting hall, print and mail newsletters, produce New Patient Handbooks and related literature that is critical to reaching patients in hospital or who may be isolated. Fees and donations help us send children with ostomies to an annual summer Ostomy Youth Camp. Just as importantly, your presence at meetings can be a huge source of encouragement to those whe have recently undergone surgery. You may be confident and content with your ostomy now, and may feel you don't need the UOA or its services. However, WE need YOU if we want to continue to provide a structure within which those who are struggling or just need to talk to others like themselves can find their way. Join us, renew your membership, come to a meeting! Help make the journey easier for someone else.
As a non-profit, volunteer asociation we welcome donations, bequests and gifts. Tax receipts for $20 or more will be forwarded for all donations. Donations should be made payable and addressed to:
Vancouver United Ostomy Association
Box 74570, Postal Station G
Vancouver, BC V6K 4P4
You can download a printable version of our membership application below (but you'll have to mail it in with an old-fashioned cheque -- we're not that technically advanced yet!!)