Today, January 21st 2013 is our 15th birthday! W00t!
To celebrate our 15th birthday we wanted to do something different and felt it was important we thanked our members in some way for all the support they have given us over the years – the idea for a prize draw was born. After ten days the entry period for the draw has closed, and this morning the winners were picked.
I’m delighted to be able to announce the following winners of the seven prize draw prizes.
- Amazon £50 (GBP) Gift Voucher (SecuriCare) - june
- Amazon Kindle Touch WiFi (Coloplast) - Magi
- Amazon £25 (GBP) Gift Voucher (Pelican Healthcare) - Billie 43
- Amazon £20 (GBP) Gift Voucher (Independence Products) - Vicky
- Amazon £20 Gift Voucher (OstoMart) - echo
- An Ostomyland Mug (Oland) - RWSutt62
- A “Fuzzbutt” Bear (Oland) - Phillysue
Did you win? If so, please check your comunity account’s PMs for an automatic winners message, and in the coming days you’ll get a message from Jason/Trekkie Monster asking for the relevant details so we can get your prize to you!
Congratulations to you all and thanks to everyone who entered the draw. You’ve helped make history by being part of our first ever prize draw. There will be more in the future too I’m sure.
A Brief History of Ostomyland-Time
15 years ago today I uploaded a page to my personal homepage named “Living with a Colostomy” which featured a long single page with information about what a colostomy is, why I had to have mine and encouraged people to email to ask questions and I’d add them to the page. If it wasn’t for my getting bored on New Years Day 1998 Ostomyland may never have come into existence.
On Jan 1st 1998 I was recovering from eating too much at the N.Y. dinner, and the family was asleep in the chairs trying to sleep off the indigestion and over-indulgence. As I sat there I had been pondering on how colostomy support wasn’t really aimed at young people at that time. All I could find was information written by the older generation, for the older generation. It didn’t tell me everything I had been wanting to hear 6 months earlier when I had my colostomy formed. I began to think of how I could get this information out to the younger ostomates. At the time I was a subscriber of .net magazine and the current issue had an article on how to create a website with basic HTML coding. I read through that article a number of times and started to play about with the tutorials they had run within it’s pages. 21 days later my personal homepage went online with it’s one page dedicated to ostomy support for all ages. Little did I know it at the time, but that was the start of the Ostomyland project where I wanted to bring ostomy support online for all age. There was a slight problem though. Up until that Jan 1st 1998 I’d never created a web page before. In fact I’d never done any HTML or computer programming before and the .net tutorials only covered the very basics.
Over the coming weeks I added a few more pages with more detailed and guide-related pages, and the hit counters were showing me that these ostomy pages were attracting far more readers than the other pages on the personal homepage where I was waffling on about my love of Formula 1 (but no more) and the original Buffy actress Kristy Swanson!
So, the decision was made to separate it off to its own website and the independent “Living with a Colostomy” website started. A few years after that the website outgrew it’s freebie ISP web-space home and we had to go out into the world of paid-for website hosting and *gulp* server bills! 15 years later we now have two shared server accounts (one for this main site, and one for the community) and a wonderful support community of over 4000 members worldwide since the current database started in 2006. Latest server stats are showing we’re receiving over 1000 people per day, generating millions of hits between them over the days, weeks and months of the year. 50% of our readers are British the vast majority of the rest are American or Canadian with a smattering of Australian and New Zealanders in the mix too.
Never for one minute when I first uploaded my personal homepage did I think that 15 years later we would be where we are today. Ostomyland has been a major part of my life for 15 years now. A lot of effort has gone into it, when my own health permitted as I still have numerous medical problems requiring attention and care on a daily basis. What started out as a hobby to stop be becoming bored and to help reach other to other ostomates has become one of the longest running independent ostomy support communities online today. This would not have been possible without the help of our fantastic members whom are the lifeblood of Ostomyland. The largest thank you though must go to our volunteer admins. The current Team Ostomyland admins and mods are very much the beating heart of our community and I thank them too for giving up their time to help keep our community a safe and friendly source of ostomy support and camaraderie.
The largest thank you must go to someone without whom Ostomyland would not be here today. Kathy, my fellow senior admin. She’s a constant source of administerial energy despite having to care for her husband. I know that whenever I need to contact Kathy to ask for something to be done that I can count on her 100%, and that’s hugely important to me. Without that rock, and with my health problems, Ostomyland would be near impossible to run as it is today. But more important is the fact that thanks to Ostomyland she has become one of my best friends in life and that’s a friendship I’m very grateful for and value greatly.
Finally, no mention of Ostomyland’s history should ever fail to include MichNL, Alva and MikeNZ. Those names probably mean nothing to our newest or even the majority of our daily-visitor member base. However they are all Ostomyland members whom become admins or moderators in our community, helping mould it and grow it into it’s 2013 shape. But, sadly, they are no longer with us to see the fruits of their labour, and they leave one huge hole in our community’s heart.
MikeNZ was the brains behind our music community. Whilst he was with us he moulded it into a thriving off-topic forum and become a hugely popular member of our community in the early-mid noughties.
Alva was one of our chat room ops (operators) who was a huge help in making the chat room a 24/7 possibility. She spent many, many hours in there talking to complete strangers, taking on board their problems and giving them a listening ear. She had the ability to calm and reassure just through the text of her words and she was a huge loss to our community when she passed away, not only because of her help with the chat room but because of her friendship with almost all our chatters.
Then there’s MichNL who was our first ever chat op and senior admin – he was Riker to my Picard and was my first ever online friend that I’d created as a result of the ostomy pages. He helped me establish the chat room’s Saturday night meetings as the event for ostomates around the world. That may sound a tad egotistical but it was true. We had people from the UK stay in to be part of the chat. We had Americans stop their afternoon chores to join in. We even had folks from Australia and New Zealand stay up to the early hours, or even get up in the early hours to be part of the chat. As we’d joined forces with Shaz’s Ostomy Page, together our communities created a unique ostomy support experience online via IRC Chat. MichNL was – and is, a great friend. There is no doubt in my mind that without his energy and passion for the project and for ostomy support that I’d have closed the project down many, many years ago. Sadly MichNL never got to see the change from Living with a Colostomy to Ostomyland, or the move to paid-for hosting, or indeed any of the huge achievements we’ve had over the years, but I hope that he’s looking down at us now with a huge smile on his face, rightfully proud of what he helped create, and he’s probably wishing – like me – that he could have won that darned Kindle Fire too!
The Ostomyland 15th Birthday Event is sponsored by SecuriCare Home Delivery but I’d like to dedicate it to our greatly missed absent friends, MichNL, Alva and MikeNZ. And now I’m going to shut up as I’m getting tears in the eyes.
Thank you one and all.