Molly, one of our inspiring 180 Medical ostomy scholarship recipients of 2022, has gone through a difficult journey with a severe form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) known as ulcerative colitis (UC). Adjusting to her new life with an ostomy as a young adult hasn’t been easy, but today, she says she wouldn’t trade her experiences for the world. We’re proud to introduce you to Molly and share her story and future career plans.
Meet Molly, 2022 Ostomy Scholarship Recipient
Molly was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was just twelve years old. She managed her ulcerative colitis symptoms over the years with medication. She still had occasional flare-ups, but in 2020, her colitis symptoms worsened like never before.
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people can go months or even years without experiencing many issues. But when it’s severe, it can cause rectal bleeding, pain, fatigue, weight loss, and more.
Her doctors tried multiple options, including medications and immunotherapies, but nothing worked. Eventually, she made the difficult decision to have a colectomy, which would result in a colostomy. This procedure removes all or part of the colon (large intestine) and diverts the flow of stool through a surgically-created tube called a stoma. Colectomies may be necessary in some cases like Molly’s to treat severe diseases that affect the bowels, like inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.
Molly was nervous to have an ostomy, but she was desperate for a normal life where she wouldn’t have to be sick all the time.
Finding a Community for People with an Ostomy
Molly shared that adjusting to an ostomy, especially as a young person, was difficult at first.
Eventually, she found an online community of other young people living with ostomies and sharing their experiences. Suddenly, Molly felt less alone.
In fact, she was so inspired that she started to share her own journey of life with ulcerative colitis and a colostomy. She knew firsthand how hard it could be to face such a major surgery at a young age, so she decided to use her platform to raise awareness.
Before long, people began reaching out to Molly. She discovered she really enjoyed being able to provide support to others who were facing life with an ostomy.
“I would listen to their thoughts and feelings, reassure them that it would be okay, and support them through their journey,” said Molly. “It made me realize how much I loved helping people.”
Using Her Experience to Help Others
Thanks to her experiences, Molly decided she wanted to make a career out of this new passion.
Today, at Boston College, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work so she can someday help and counsel others going through medical hardships.
“I know what it’s like to be in that situation. The social workers at my hospital really helped me, and I want to do the same for others,” Molly shared.
In the meantime, Molly continues to share her experiences on Instagram to help spread awareness about living with an ostomy. She hopes to end the stigma surrounding ostomies and show people that you can live a normal life with an ostomy.
At 180 Medical, we’re so proud to be able to help contribute toward Molly’s big goals. She’s already touched many lives, and we’re sure she will go on to achieve great things.
About the 180 Medical Scholarship Program
Have you heard about the 180 Medical College Scholarship Program? We offer a $1,000 college scholarship award to seven college students with specific medical conditions, including those living with an ileostomy, urostomy, or colostomy like Molly.
You can get all the need-to-know details, including eligibility requirements, at www.180medical.com/scholarships.