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Friends of Ostomates Worldwide-USA sends free ostomy supplies and educational resources to those in need around the globe.
Many people living with ostomies in developing countries are unable to afford the ostomy supplies that they need. They are forced to utilize plastic bags, metal cans, rubber gloves, or rags and towels to manage their ostomies. Consequently, their quality of life is poor and skin care is a major issue. In addition, their family members, friends, and communities often reject them. Because of these challenges, they may be unable to attend school or hold a job. They may lose all hope and struggle to survive.
Fortunately, Friends of Ostomates Worldwide-USA (FOW-USA) listens to these cries for help. FOW-USA is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization that provides free ostomy supplies and educational resources to those in need around the globe. During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, FOW-USA made 144 shipments to 97 countries – a total of nearly 14 tons of supplies, valued at over $1.3 million.
FOW-USA doesn’t see a shipment as a pallet of supplies, but rather as an infant who now has a pediatric ostomy pouch, a young man who can finally work without worrying about odor, or a grateful mother who can send her child to school with the proper ostomy products.
FOW-USA sent needed ostomy supplies to a mother in Nicaragua who said:
“This is my son, Matias Daniel, born on June 3, 2017. He suffers from Hirschsprung’s disease, and received a colostomy on his second day of birth. He has had six surgeries, three of which were due to complications. In 2019, after a colostomy closure procedure, he had a perforation in his colon, so he currently has an ileostomy.”
FOW-USA also sent supplies to Abeer in Romania, who arranges for them to go to his mother, Amal, in Iraq, and he said:
“Mama received the supplies. She’s very happy. Through your help her problem is solved. Thank you from all our heart. My mother sends to you her warm greetings!”
How to donate ostomy supplies
Interested in helping FOW-USA fulfill its mission? If you receive ostomy product samples that you don’t want, or if you change the type of ostomy pouch you use and no longer have a need for the rest of your supplies, do not throw them away. Ship them to FOW-USA, 4018 Bishop Lane, Louisville, KY 40218-4539.
If you have a small amount to ship, you can put the supplies in a zipped plastic bag and mail them in a flat-rate postal box. If you have large quantities of skin barriers and pouches, you can remove them from their boxes, put them in zipped plastic bags, place the bags in a carton, and send the carton by UPS, which gives a discount to AAA and AARP members. Be sure to include your name and mailing address in your shipment. FOW-USA will send you a receipt, which you can use for tax purposes.
If you would like more information about the important work of FOW-USA, or want to sign up for their newsletter, visit www.fowusa.org.
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