Meet Helen Bracey

Helen Bracey was rushed into hospital at the age of 23 with severe abdominal pains. 5 weeks later she returned home having had surgery to create an ileostomy.

“The doctors told me there was something seriously wrong with my colon, which meant nothing to me, I had no idea what my colon was or what losing it would mean.” Fortunately Helen received a crash course in biology from the doctors and nurses looking after her, knowledge which she has since passed on to others who have had this kind of surgery."

“I helped set up and worked for a stoma support charity for 7 years, helping others gain a better understanding of their anatomy and the implications of surgery, as well as offering emotional support to people as they adjust to the significant changes it entails.”

"Having a stoma has become so normal for me that I hardly think about it now. Having a good support network and finding the right stoma appliance were key for me as I adjusted to life after stoma surgery. I have since gone on to travel through Asia and Central America and I am a keen runner, completing my first marathon in 2014. Although there have been really challenging times for me and my family through my illness and recovery from various surgeries, we have got through them by focusing on the positives and remembering that life is full of change."

“It’s really such a privilege to work with people who have such inspiring stories to share and, in turn, relate to people all over the country who can benefit from the support the Advocate team can offer. The Advocate message is one of realistic optimism.”

"In addition to my role as Advocate Lead I am also training as a Therapeutic Counsellor and I volunteer as a play worker in the visitors centre at a prison. I am also a silversmith and I enjoy yoga, gaming and trail running."

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