I have a heck of a lot of respect and love for the Purple Wings Charity. I genuinely don’t believe I would be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for a message about the ball I saw in a group. The conference is where I was able to make contacts who became friends such as Jasmine and Nozar, let alone Lauren and meeting a ton of friendly and amazing ostomates which you can read about the conference and the ball in those links.
Have you ever been at an event where you feel so completely at ease and surrounded by people who just “get” you? No? Well I have and that is at every event I have ever been to through the Purple Wings Charity where ostomates are the majority and not the minority.
We were at the Copthorne Hotel in Birmingham on the 22nd of July 2017, during the day we had the conference filled with ostomy related companies and talks from ostomates. Then on the evening we were treated to a 3 course meal and got our boogie on after listening to a bit about how the charity has done over the year oh and our very own show boy Steve.
I have already had the pleasure of meeting Steve a couple of times now and at the event I got to meet Rachel and Louise, not to mention Tiffin the Great! Stick Natalie came too as the real Natalie was unavailable. I was so lucky to be the only one of the hosts of The IBD and Ostomy Support Show to have met all the other hosts. It didn’t feel any different to seeing your best friends you see everyday, that is what makes our show work but it wouldn’t come to fruition if we didn’t have Purple Wings introducing certain members to each other.
There were several stalls in and around the room the conference was held which were:-
- Stoma Style
- Jasmine Stacey Collection
- Salts Medilink
- Birmingham IA
- Vanilla Blush
- Purple Wings Charity Stall
I always enjoy going round the stalls and collecting different samples and being able to talk to someone face to face about the products as it’s easier to find out if it is right for you. I obviously handed out my blogness cards to everyone who would take one!! Hey surely that’s what they are there for right? We had lunch in the conference room and sat down to listen to the talks.
First up was Jenna, at 9 years old she was told she had an eating disorder but it was actually Inflammatory Bowel Disease, they said she was attention seeking (this is so common for those of us who get sick young and it angers me so much as I was on the receiving end of it too) She was given a colostomy bag and was eventually well enough to go back to school and nobody knew about her stoma. She has since had her bag reversed but may need it back in the future. I cried a lot through her story that if I got anything mixed up I’m truly sorry.
Then up Rachel, Louise, stick Natalie and I went for a mini talk on our show. We spoke about why and how it was started. Why we all wanted to take part and that Mister Steve is now a permanent fixture on the show (his little face made my heart burst) We will be talking about our small but so important to us part of the conference on episode 18 of our show which you can subscribe to via YouTube channel.
The last speaker of the conference was Nicola a fellow northern lass. She got sick at 10 years old but not diagnosed with Crohns till she was 12 years old followed shortly by her ileostomy being formed. She went to an all girls school and was honest from the start with people and she received nothing but kindness. She met her soon to be husband at 16 and they have 6 beautiful children. Nicola also suffered 150 perianal abscesses in her bum cheek which were cut out and she has a rose tattooed over the scar.
I honestly never do the speakers enough justice as they are moving, I dislike using the term inspirational as what other option do any of us have but to keep on going with our lives? That was the end of the conference bit and there was a few hours in between that and the ball.
We had a nice meal of watercress, potato and courgette soup with creme fraiche for starters. French trim chicken breast with coriander and chilli sauteed potatoes sauce vierge for the main followed by homemade sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream.
Remember that photo shoot I did earlier in the year for the charity? Well I’m only in the 2018 calendar! Yep I’ve only gone and bagged the title of Miss September! Which means a lot to me as 00Steve and I got married in September. That is definitely a highlight for me! I also got to dance (a lot) with a calendar boy from this years calendar James (although we all know his son Robbie stole the show!) Here is some of the calendar girls that attended the ball sadly we couldn’t find Amy another ostomate I am proud to call my friend.
Each year Lauren talks about where the charity is going and the work they have done this year including fundraising done. The talk of the evening was our very own Steve talking about his journey from being sick to diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis and having a stoma. Steve is such a charismatic person that I was shocked when he told me that he was really nervous to stand up there and talk about his bag change video with Crohns and Colitis UK, being Mr October in this years Purple Wings Charity Calendar and doing the Vanilla Blush shoot. But don’t worry you smashed it!
The decorations were gorgeous as usual, another calendar girl Paige did the centrepieces (which she nicely sent me photos) Samantha who works for the charity made little name cards with pegs with purple butterflies on. There was the infamous photo booth that I thankfully didn’t spend too long in! The cutest little save the date cards for the ball next year which I will obviously be attending!
I’m glad to have spent time catching up with Laura and Michael, Jasmine and her model Lydia who I’m going to kidnap and have her as my adopted sister! Not forgetting the devilishly handsome Mr Tumnus! My fellow calendar girls and meeting new faces. So even though I am a new (second time) mum everyone understood that I was so mentally fatigued that I was finding myself overwhelmed being in a room with that many people even though I did want to socialise but struggled. If you head over to either my Facebook Blog page or my Instagram you will be able to see more photos from the night.
Lauren from the bottom of my heart thank you, for everything you do for others so selflessly and without a seconds hesitation. I am so privileged to have you not only in my life but as a dear and close friend. Please remember how many lives you have touched with your kind words and warming smile. I love you.