Hey there! I'm MJ aka @emjayuc – an ostomy and IBD advocate from Sydney, Australia. I was diagnosed with pan ulcerative colitis in 2000. For 17 years I suffered from worsening symptoms, medical side effects, anaemia from blood loss, plus anxiety. When I failed all medical treatments and developed pre-cancer bowel cells, it was time for a colectomy. Leading up to surgery I followed other ostomates online to discover what life could be like with a stoma. I was inspired by so many young, thriving ostomates and it gave me hope. In 2017 I had a total colectomy and ileostomy and documented my recovery on Instagram. I wanted to share my experience and help to inspire at least one other person on their own ostomy journey. While in the hospital, I created happy ostomy illustrations and shared it on my account. It got such a positive response, I kept drawing. I create art to help raise awareness about life with an ostomy and help remove the stigma. An ostomy is not something to be ashamed of. It can be a positive life-changing and life-saving experience for many of us. My bright and cheerful illustrations intend to uplift and inspire other ostomates who might be going through hard times. I've created ostomy shirts and tote bags for proud ostomates to wear. On my 1 year Stomaversary in 2018, I painted a positive and colourful mural at Sydney's Bondi Beach to raise awareness and help encourage ostomates to get their bags out at the beach. I was proudly sponsored by Omnigon for this piece. I've also collaborated with and created illustrations for Crohn's & Colitis UK, Crohn's & Colitis Australia, OstomyConnection.com, Oshi Health IBD App and more. I've spoken as a patient advocate for a Pharmaceutical company and for Stoma Therapy Nurses and plan to do more talks in the future. Having an ostomy and sharing my story on Instagram has helped me connect with so many wonderful ostomates and IBDers around the world. I am grateful for the good health, opportunities and connections my ostomy has created. I'd love continue to share my art and to paint more ostomy murals around the world!
Best in Show: Instagram Nominee
I’m a Patient Leader