‘Can’t Wait Card’ set to hit Wales!

Launched in 1987 the Crohn’s and Colitis UK ‘Can’t Wait Card’ has helped thousands of their members with Inflammatory Bowel Disease gain access to bathroom facilities in an emergency without the embarrassment of having to explain their urgent need.

The purpose of the card is to make it easier for members to ask to use the toilets in busy shops, restaurants and other buildings, which may not be available to the general public; without having to give a long and often embarrassing explanation about their condition and urgency in a crowded area.
The Can’t Wait card is presented when someone with IBD is in an emergency and trying to avoid an accident in public. These customers require help, discretion and understanding.

A major anxiety for people living with a chronic health condition like Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis (IBD), is being refused access to toilet facilities or being confronted about why they are using a ‘disabled’ toilet.  People with IBD often appear to look ‘okay’ on the outside, however are in a daily battle with a serious medical condition.

With this in mind the #GetYourBellyOut campaign sprang into action when an opportunity to help better promote the Can’t Wait card presented itself thanks to a good friend of the campaign Jamie Bowen and Swansea Business Improvement District (BID).

#GetYourBellyOut set about to create the Can’t Wait Card information packs, in collaboration with Jamie and Crohn’s and Colitis UK which outlines all that’s needed to know about the initiative and how retail outlets and businesses can get involved.
Can't Wait Card Info Packs

A modern twist was added by the belly team during a recent trip to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK headquarters in St.Albans when we helped to design an easily recognisable sticker that stores and restaurants could display in the windows which will work in conjunction with the card.

The card is a valued resource and in a recent Crohn’s and Colitis UK membership survey, 87% of members rated the card as being important or very important to them. The card gives holders a level of reassurance to access toilets in the absence of public facilities and to ask to jump to the front of a queue in an emergency.

The idea is that these participating store’s will help holders of the card to enter the premises at short notice, safe in the knowledge that they’re welcome to use the facilities. It’s hoped that this in turn will create brand loyalty which is a win-win for all parties involved in the scheme.

A continuous anxiety about suddenly needing the toilet and having very little time to find one can have a devastating impact on the ability to engage in regular activities away from home such as going to work, shopping or socializing. Life can become very isolating as patients often become housebound.

 

Can't Wait‘On a recent visit to Edinburgh I needed an urgent trip to the toilet, so popped into Costa Coffee but the toilets were locked. I showed my Can’t Wait Card to the charming young gentleman who unlocked the door for myself to use. This was the first time I have used the card so thanks to Costa, the young man and Crohn’s and Colitis UK for the card’ – Crohn’s and Colitis UK member.

The initiative is set to pilot in Swansea, South Wales with potential plans to roll out such schemes across the whole of the UK.  Information packs were sent out a number of weeks ago and are now on the desks of the decision makers.  We have received feedback with a number of large stores (details will be announced in due course by the charity) already signed up to back the scheme which #GetYourBellyOut feels will have a huge impact upon the daily lives of our supporters.
If your store, restaurant or business would be interested in supporting the Can’t Wait card initiative in Swansea please CONTACT US.

A similar scheme is already underway in Canada and has had great success, click here to find out more. Alternatively if you’d like to get a Can’t Wait Card then please sign up to the Crohn’s and Colitis UK membership, details of which can be found on their website.

#GetYourBellyOut – creating opportunities!

Stephanie Bongard took to social media to post a photograph of her belly in support of the #GetYourBellyOut campaign. A post which has since reached thousands of people and even featured on the Huffington post website.
steph
Since then our friends over at Pelican Health have offered Stephanie the chance to share her story over on their website.
‘I had seen it as a hashtag on Instagram and was inspired by the ostomates who were brave enough to bare their bellies to the world.  Even more encouraging was that many of them looked to be my age!’ she writes.

We caught up with Stephanie to ask what it’s been like having so many opportunities since posting her first ever #GetYourBellyOut photo.

‘I never thought that the photo would go so far! I’m amazed at the opportunities I am getting to help bring awareness to IBD and living with an ostomy. Even though I’ve had to miss out on some important things in my life because of my medical history, this just goes to show that when one door closes another one opens.’
She continued ‘I hope that by sharing my story I can encourage other ostomates to do the same! Be proud and #GetYourBellyOut!’

In addition to Stephanie’s success following her initial belly photo another of our gorgeous campaign supporters Jane Beaumont landed a feature in a recent edition of Take a Break magazine after she was encouraged to share her IBD story over on our public #GetYourBellyOut Facebook page.
jane
Jane’s advice to those thinking about sharing their story with others was ‘Never let your disease define you as a person and you’ll achieve what ever you please in life!’

It’s great to see that #GetYourBellyOut is helping people around the world adjust to life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and that we’re able to connect patients with such diverse opportunities. From offering product feedback, newspaper/ magazine features, ostomy factory visits to featuring in a charity calendar, it’s been wonderful to see everyone’s confidence skyrocket.

Well done Stephanie, Jane and all who have shared their ‘belly pictures’ with us. Thank you for helping to raise awareness for all of us living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or an ostomy. What are you waiting for? #GetYourBellyOut!!!

Braving the catwalk for IBD awareness!

California State University San Marcos hosted an awesome awareness event called ‘Love Your Body’ and asked those brave enough to get involved.

One such brave IBD’er to step forward was #GetYourBellyOuwebsite-story-alishat campaign supporter Alisha Donaldson.  Alisha joined The Gender Equity Centre in the middle of the campus courtyard for a fashion catwalk like no other. When asked of the event Alisha said ‘The event was to encourage body positivity while raising awareness of health issues and harmful/ offensive advertisements. There was a runway for anyone to strut their lovely selves down, whilst the MC explained what each person loved most about their body.’
She continued ‘I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to step far outside of my comfort zone, strip down and walk the runway in order to showcase/ highlight that confidence is key when tackling life with an ostomy.’

Before the event Alisha reached out to our community of ‘bellies’ and got them involved by asking them to submit words related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  She would later write these words upon her body to raise awareness of the troubles that those with a chronic illness face. She was keen to highlight and represent ‘invisible illnesses’ which unfortunately many endure and often deal with alone.

When asked how the e11225365_10202551881193655_3532877145530812078_nvent had gone Alisha said ‘I was extremely uncomfortable but knew that that day and that moment was bigger than me. I was speaking on behalf of so many who couldn’t speak for themselves.  I was so happy to able to share that accomplishment with so many. It’s heartwarming to know that I’ve inspired others and am helping to make a difference, not only by overcoming my own struggles but for others out there like me.’

It’s amazing to see that the #GetYourBellyOut campaign is still encouraging people throughout the globe to raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  If you have been inspired by the #GetYourBellyOut campaign please get in touch, for your chance to be our next feature.

#GetYourBellyOut Ostomy Factory Tour!

That’s right, the #GetYourBellyOut campaign gathered up a bunch of our scrumptious campaign supporters for a wicked day out at an ostomy factory!

Pelican Healthcare kindly agreed to let the #GetYourBellyOut campaign, a film crew and some of our supporters in for a behind the scenes snoop at what goes into creating ostomy bags.

There are many people worldwide who have an ostomy whether that be a Colostomy, Ileostomy or Urostomy for a number of different reasons. Patients with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis are sometimes given the option of an ostomy if the bowel  becomes too inflamed or ulcerated because of disease (which is often the cause great pain/discomfort).
This ostomy factory tour was the perfect opportunity for us to break down the barriers and dive straight in with a behind the scenes look at the facilities and the processes involved in making ostomy bags. Who knew that there were so many different stages to ensuring that each ostomy bag is created to such a high standard.
pelican-2

#GetYourBellyOut has formed some wonderful friendships along the way which has allowed us to connect our campaign supporters directly with the brands and companies which they benefit from every single day.  This tour was a shining example of patients working closely with those who have dedicated their time to designing/ providing the best possible products to make life with an ostomy that little bit easier.

Not only did we have the opportunity for a good snoop around but we spent hours talking about all sorts from product feedback to ostomy accessories. As a result of the wonderful minds gathered around the table we have plenty of new ideas to implement in the near future, watch this space!

We would like to give our thanks to Pelican Healthcare for allowing us to visit as without them we wouldn’t have added a new experience to our list! They too kindly allowed a film crew from ITV to follow the campaign for the day in aid of an awareness programme that’s due to be aired on S4C in the coming weeks.

For more information about ostomies see the Crohn’s and Colitis UK website.

#GetYourBellyOut named as charity ambassadors!

#GetYourBellyOut are thrilled to announce that Lorna Haymes, Gem Wills & Victoria Marie have been named as ambassadors for the UK’s national charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Community Champions are a new tier of ambassadors which will sit alongside the likes of Anastacia, Sir Steve Redgrave, Carrie Grant and Darren Fletcher who currently fly the flag in order to raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

#GetYourBellyOut were selected as one of twelve new Community Champions as recognition for their dedication, passion and exceptional efforts in supporting the charity and the wider IBD community.

14610751_10153709574335927_464143430_n

Connect Magazine.

David Barker, Chief Executive at Crohn’s and Colitis UK said;
“The new Community Champions will reflect everyday supporters who are making a huge difference to the charity and the wider IBD community.”
“I am thrilled that GetYourBellyOut are one of our first Community Champions and that, like the others will encourage and inspire others. Our close community is our biggest strength and we would not be able to do the work we do without it. There are people doing incredible things everyday and launching the Community Champion programme is our way of recognising that.”

The #GetYourBellyOut team would like to thank our loyal campaign supporters for their ongoing love and support. We aim to continue our role in being a strong voice for the community and hope that becoming ambassadors for Crohn’s and Colitis UK serves as a clear mark of trust.
We couldn’t do what we do best on a voluntary basis without the amazing support that we receive from those who believe in us; our campaign supporters.

For more information about the new line-up of Community Champions visit the Crohn’s and Colitis UK website.

 

Models Required

Model for #GetYourBellyOut!

Grab this amazing opportunity to help promote #GetYourBellyOut’s awareness clothing brand!

#GetYourBellyOut would like to gather together the best possible photographs of our campaign supporters modelling our clothing range.  These images will be used for promotional purposes and prominently feature on our social media outlets.

The belly team know just how awesome our campaign supporters are. As such we wish to celebrate and showcase the different age ranges, interests and fashion styles which make up our amazing belly brigade. Make sure that we can see your individual flare and personalities shine from the pictures that you submit.

What’s the prize? Your very own five minutes of fame by becoming our next poster pinup. Think you’ve got what it takes?
If you own an item of #GetYourBellyOut clothing we would love to hear from you. You are not going to want to miss this opportunity as we have an extra special surprise for our winners.

We have put together some tips to help you create an image which will stand the best chance of being selected so make sure that you get involved:

13839969_10153675591196806_1123181189_o (1)

Nick Axtell a previous competition winner modelling his design for our #GetYourBellyOut clothing range.

– Don’t send us any selfies.  Ask a friend or family member to be in charge of the camera. This way you’re more likely to capture/feature the whole garment.

– On this occasion we are not looking for group shots. This is a solo exercise so only one person to be featured within each image.

– We are looking for good/ high quality images so delete any fuzzy shots or keep them for your personal photo albums. Fuzzy/ out of focus shots won’t help your chances of being selected as we are seeking images with a professional feel.

– Be mindful when selecting your favourite images, choose the ones which you feel best represent the modern vibe of the #GetYourBellyOut campaign.

– Express your personality within your pictures, remember that you want to stand out! Although we usually encourage it, belly flashing is not required this time around as we need to see the full garment on show.

– Remember that #GetYourBellyOut are looking for the images which stand out the most and highlight /show our garments off in the best possible way.

– We are looking for images which will cover our full range so if you have more than one item of #GetYourBellyOut clothing please submit a photograph of yourself modeling each one. Whether this be in your vest, tshirt or hoody  and either white, black, grey or navy.

– Bonus points are given for original ideas so think outside the box.

– Please be aware we cannot use any images which have distractions/ mess in the background.  Think about your surroundings! Maybe you’ve chosen to take your photographs at the local skate park or at a national beauty spot. Whichever location you choose make sure that you keep your backgrounds clutter free.

EXAMPLE: WE CANNOT USE IMAGES WITH BACKGROUND DISTRACTIONS.PhototasticCollage-2016-08-09-19-41-27


*Now for the important stuff**
PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING THE COMPETITION RULES PLUS THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS!

All entries MUST be emailed to getyourbellyout@hotmail.com

Photos submitted via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will not be considered. Only photos sent to the email address above as an ‘attachment’ will count. If your image doesn’t land up in the inbox it simply won’t count! We request that you do not upload your entries to social media as you will spoil the surprise.

#GetYourBellyOut can not accept any images which have been altered in any way such as filters added, frilly boarders, featuring any text or having been Photo-shopped.

We are happy for you to enter numerous images although please ensure that we can see the full length of the garment (hoody/ t-shirt) in each photo.

Check the background of your images for anything that you may consider to be private. For example if your image has been taken near a well known landmark, this may give away your geographic location. Any pictures taken in your home environment will need to be checked by yourselves to ensure that nothing which you consider personal is on display.


KEY DATES TO REMEMBER
Your entry MUST be received by 1pm (UK time) by Wednesday 31st August 2016. Entries submitted after this time will NOT be considered.

Winning entries will be selected by the #GetYourBellyOut team and those chosen to feature in our promotional advertisement will be announced by Wednesday 7th September 2016.


By submitting your pictures via email to getyourbellyout@hotmail.com you:

Are aware that selected images will be used to promote our #GetYourBellyOut clothing line/brand.
Give permission for the #GetYourBellyOut Campaign to use your pictures for online, media and advertising promotional use.
You understand that there will be no money exchanged in return for this promotional opportunity.
You’re comfortable with the images being seen by a large volume of people as they will be in the public domain.
#GetYourBellyOut reserves the rights to cancel this promotional opportunity at any time.
#GetYourBellyOut reserves the right to select as many or as few entries as is deemed appropriate.

Good Luck! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Heart-warming Clothes Swap

Bellies boost confidence with heart-warming clothes swap initiative.

No matter your size the #GetYourBellyOut campaign would indeed encourage all of our campaign supporters to disregard the number which can be found on the inside of clothing garments and focus more on the relationship that one has with their own body/ health.

clothes swap 3 Many with Inflammatory Bowel Disease know all too well the struggles which IBD’ers face with regards to a fluctuating waistline. Some face a struggle to gain or maintain weight because of symptoms such as the loss of appetite whilst others are managing the often uninvited weight gains thanks to medication side effects such as the steroids used to aggressively treat IBD.

Those with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can face a challenging journey with regards to maintaining a healthy waistline and as a result often struggle with body confidence. Many find themselves out of pocket or out of style when it comes to fashion but worry no more as help is at hand! For the cost of postage and packaging you can restock your wardrobe with clothes that actually fit thanks to an ingenious idea that’s sprung from within the IBD community!

Fairy godmother Brenda Meakin was inspired by fellow #GetYourBellyOut campaign supporter Sarah Young to set up what is fast becoming a well loved Bellies Clothes Swap. The aim of the Facebook group is to encourage ‘bellies’ who have outgrown their wardrobe to donate any unwanted items so that others can benefit from them.

The idea has seen campaign supporters spring cleaning their wardrobes all for a good cause. Stories are emerging of those who are wishing to ditch their oversized wardrobes in order to replace the space with clothing that actually fits their new frame. Likewise there have been stories from ‘bellies’ who have really gained confidence from being sent clothing donations of a larger size without having the added expense of buying a whole new wardrobe of clothing. Already the movement has received some very desirable clothing donations which were quickly snapped up by those who could give these pre-loved clothes a new lease of life.
clothes swap

How does it work?
Bellies who have items of clothing which they’re happy to pass on to fellow IBD’ers upload an image of the clothing item into the Bellies Clothes Swap Facebook group, listing the size of the garment and any descriptive wording that may help those perusing the goods on offer. Those wishing to bid on an item simply express their interest and the clothing items are dispatched on a first come first serve basis. The only costs involved for the recipient of the garments is to reimburse the cost of postage and packaging for the sender.

Who is it for?
Whether you’re in your teens or enjoying the later enjoyments of life you’re most welcome to partake in the bellies clothing swap. The movement is open to both men and women although currently it seems to be mostly the women who are clearing some extra space in their wardrobes.

Why is such a movement is so important?
The Bellies Clothes Swap is an important step in boosting people’s confidence and can really help make someone’s day! Mrs Meakin explains ‘I was a size 24 before I first became unwell with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and my weight dropped right down to a size 12/14 (UK clothing chart). Somewhere in the middle of my weight loss journey I had to buy a load of new clothes as I couldn’t continue wearing a size 24 now that I was a lot slimmer. After spending a fortune on clothes I lost more weight again so once more I was forced to restock my wardrobe with clothes that would fit…only my new clothing wouldn’t fit me for very long as I began to put the weight back on as my health stabilised. I’ve wasted so much money because of my continually changing waistline so when Sarah Young posted in the #GetYourBellyOut support group that she had clothing items to donate to a good home it really struck a chord and inspired me. I get such a lovely feeling when I see others happy to receive the clothing donation and it gives these items another lease of life. ‘
Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease that could benefit from being involved with such an initiative can reach the Facebook group here.

What of the future?
The movement has already seen a very kind donation of pre-loved wedding and bridesmaids outfits which quickly found a new home so I would imagine that the aim for the future is to continue drawing in quality pre-owned items which are looking to be worn once more.
When asked of her future plans Mrs Meakin said that she hoped to encourage supporters to rope in more friends, places of work and schools to participate in the clothes drive. ‘It would be wonderful if a group of friends or colleagues could band together and have a clothes swapping collection party then send their kind donations to one of the team who could distribute the clothing items to those who could greatly benefit from them.’

Want to get involved? Here’s how you could help!
Are you one of the many that have a ball gown or prom dress that is sitting up the attic gathering dust and would love to give it a new home? Any such donations would be greatly received. Here’s an example of how your kind gesture could really help:

The #GetYourBellyOut campaign hosts an annual charity evening which see over 200 campaign supporters gathered for an evening of fun, giggles and charitable fundraising with costs kept to a minimum as many supporters are too unwell to maintain regular work. Some spend months saving to cover the cost a £39 ticket in order to meet friends that they’ve spent a great deal of time chatting with online as well as a room full of fellow IBD’ers. So imagine the relief when an idea was pitched to swap pre-loved prom or ball gowns. Now not only are our campaign supporters able to make the event but they too shall have a chance to shine by giving a pre-loved gown another night to remember.
clothes swap 2
The movement would also like to hear from you if you’re interested in donating any good quality pre-loved clothing items. Perhaps you have items of clothing in your wardrobe which still have the labels on and have no intentions of wearing the items?  If so please let us know.
If you, your friends or place of work have decided to join in with the Bellies Clothes Swap make sure that you share your photos with us!
So whatever your size be sure to get involved with such a worthy cause.

We respectfully ask any media wishing to feature the heart-warming story about the Bellies Clothes Swap initiative to contact us directly.

New Website!

After more than two years of the #GetYourBellyOut awareness campaign we feel that it’s time for a bit of an update. You may have noticed during the past couple of months that the team have been working super hard on shaking off a few cobwebs and sprucing up a few areas that over time had unfortunately become a little unloved and tatty around the edges as a result of always being on the go.

new website

August 2016 sees the launch of our new campaign website which we have quietly been working on behind the scenes. It’s really difficult to keep things a secret around here when we’re so excited and bursting at the seams with wanting to share our progress with you all.

Our new campaign website is just one of many updates which we hope to roll out in the near future so be sure to keep an eye out for anything new that may crop up!
In the meantime please feel free to take a good look around our new sparkly doodah website and let us know what you think! Did we do a good job? We sure hope so.