From Toronto To California, We're Making Ostomy Connections - OstomyConnection

From Toronto To California, We're Making Ostomy Connections

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I’ve mentioned before how my blog, social media and the internet in general have connected me to some of the most inspiring people who’ve faced all sorts of adversity and are now living with an ostomy.

Back in August, I read an article entitled “5 Ostomy Blogs You’ll Want To Start Following.” As I clicked on the link I was so honored and excited to see my name on this list alongside ostomates who I've admired for many years. I never really considered IBD Baggage Claim to be at the same level of these other blogs written by such talented advocates. I was honestly humbled and very proud that my little project was gaining some recognition.

Stacey Willins

Stacey Willins of IBD Baggage Claim

I was familiar with everyone on the list except for Collin Jarvis.

Although I did recognize his name, I hadn’t connected with him and was unaware he had a website. Obviously after the article came out I immediately began following Collin on Instagram and also read his story, "My Return To The Track After Ileostomy Surgery."

Fast forward a few months to this past weekend. My Dad went out for his birthday with a few of the guys for celebratory drinks and dinner. Naturally my name was brought up as his friends inquired about my ongoing recovery from J-pouch surgery. His best friend mentioned how their old high school teammate had a son around my age who suffered from ulcerative colitis, had ileostomy surgery and was a competitive Track & Field athlete… see where I’m going with this?

The next morning my Dad starts telling me about this conversation and mentions Doug Jarvis and his son. I immediately knew he was talking about Collin. I explained the connection we had thanks to social media.

Collin Jarvis at the Ostomy 5K race

Collin Jarvis at the Ostomy 5K race in Durham, NC

It really is a small world we live in.

What are the chances that back in 1977, when our fathers ventured on a cross-country road trip together from Toronto to California, both of them would grow up to have kids the same age, who both had ulcerative colitis, and also ostomies. What are the chances that these two ostomates would both decide to blog about their journeys and would both be featured in the same article? What are the chances that Doug Jarvis, who I’ve heard my Dad mention on occasion throughout the years, happened to be the father of someone I connected with independently because of this site.

These are the stories that motivate me to keep writing. Keep connecting. Keep reaching out. During a time where I’ve lost a lot of motivation for my blog, I’m reminded of the potential it has to unite people. My motto is, “we all come with a little extra baggage,” but in this case Mike Willins and Doug Jarvis happen to have kids with the same kind.

Mike Willins and Doug Jarvis, 1977

Mike Willins and Doug Jarvis, 1977

Connect with Stacey at IBD Baggage Claim and Collin at No Colon Jarvis.