Hannah

Hannah was aged seven when she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. She was mostly healthy between 15 and 25, until she had the worst flare-up of her symptoms she ever experienced. This resulted in emergency surgery and left her with a stoma bag, a bag that attaches to an opening in her abdomen which diverts all digestive waste out of her body. She has now had to adjust her life to managing her stoma. She has to know where the nearest toilets are at all times and carries supplies everywhere she goes so that she can empty her stoma bag at a moment’s notice.

When Hannah goes out, emptying her stoma bag in the standard toilets can be difficult especially as many venues have mood lighting in their bathrooms, making it hard. “Once I had to manage with just my phone light in my mouth! Now I just don’t go to those places.” Standard toilets don’t have enough space to empty a stoma bag, so she has to rely on places that have accessible toilets.

Hannah is always worried about being stopped by someone when using accessible toilets, often planning what to say ahead of time. She has heard of so many horror stories from people who have been shouted at and so she often feels guilty for using accessible toilets, even though she has every right to use them.

Hannah regularly blogs on her website and her YouTube channel about the realities of living with Colitis, to raise awareness of her condition and to help others understand how important it is to access a toilet when someone has an invisible condition.