Oliver Kaye is a brave young boy who has decided to speak openly about his health to help young people facing the same or similar life challenges.
He is 18 years old and was diagnosed with colitis at the beginning of 2020. Last year he had major surgery called stoma surgery to remove his entire colon because he was getting worse every day (acute colitis) and because no available treatments were working for him.
It left me with a stoma bag and it saved my life, says Olie.
He now has a brand new organ called ileostomy – an opening on the surface of the belly, through which the part of an intestine is pulled out.
He wanted to turn his health issues into a positive outcome, so he created a Facebook and Instagram page called @thekidwithabag to spread awareness for this invisible illness and support young people like himself who have been going through that horrible conditions.
Not many young people speak out about this topic and there’s a lot of stigma surrounding the topic so by me speaking out and spreading awareness I hope to break that stigma.
Additionally, when I was very unwell in hospitals I turned to social media and saw a great community of people with this condition who are happy and inspiring others giving them that extra comfort that you can take control of your life so if I could do the same that’s the most amazing feeling in the world.
The surgery gave me back my life. The surgery allowed me to go out again, play sport again, go to school, put on weight, and sleep again but above all have hope for the future.
I want to show people that you can live a happy life with a stoma bag, it’s not the end of the world like it’s often perceived to be, Oliver says.
Colitis isolated him from society and fully mobilized him with numerous hospitalizations just around the age when he needed to feel the most beautiful and carefree in his life, in the midst of his youth. Thanks to his positive attitude and acceptance of his ostomy, Oliver is a huge inspiration for others. With his appearance and open conversation about what he is going through, a young boy pushes the boundaries.
He is such an inspiration and hope for all young people struggling with invisible illness and for all of those living with an ostomy.