Grow Your Own Purple Wings

by Stephie Simpson

Grow Your Own Purple Wings

Have you heard of the Purple Wings charity?

Have you heard of the charity, Purple Wings? No? Well by the time you have finished reading this you will be nicely informed!

The charity was founded by Lauren Henderson who has an ileostomy herself due to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). She wanted to give people a sense of self-esteem and help them regain some confidence. The grants the charity provides are so worthwhile because IBD is horrible to live with and can make you feel less of a person - nobody should have to feel like that.

‘Time for me’ grants

The Purple Wings grants are known as ‘Time for me’ grants. IBD sufferers can apply to the charity for grant money for a family meal, family day out, a spa day, haircut, photo shoot or anything that is going to bring them some happiness. The charity looks at each person’s application and treats each case on its own merit. The charity is also self-funded, with a lot of the funds raised by ostomates and their families.

Fundraising activity

For the last big Purple Wings fundraiser, they trekked up Mount Snowdon in horrendous weather with every penny going back into the charity…I would have loved to have taken part in that! Maybe next time I can go with them. Each year, Purple Wings produces charity calendars! 2016’s calendar was all about the girls - this year it is the boys’ turn! Like most charities, Purple Wings have an online shop which you can find at This is where you can buy the calendars, cute pin badges, those rubber charity bands and much more. All the proceeds go back into the charity. If you are on Facebook they have a page they keep updated with new goings on.

Regular events

They hold regular events, too, such as an annual fancy ball with black tie, a disco, photo booth and a three course meal. There was a Christmas party last year and, on March 11th , there is a ‘ladies only’ pamper day. I’m very much looking forward to taking part in the pamper day where you get your hair and makeup done plus a photo in your lingerie. Ostomies aren’t the sexiest thing in the world but should in no way stop you from feeling sexy in yourself.

Making friends

I really like that, when you go to the charity events like the annual ball, at the stoma open day which happens the day before, you get to meet people from all over the country. I met company owners like Nozar Alikhanizadeh of Comfizz and Jasmine Stacey who is the owner and designer of the Jasmine Stacey Collection. I also got to hear stories from other ostomates and people who have had a grant given to them by the charity. There is no worry about feeling uncomfortable as everyone there understands how you feel – my partner 00Steve was casually eating his meal whilst our hilarious friend Donna talked away about poop! Through the charity I have made some really good friends that I talk to all the time.

The next annual ball will be held on the 22nd of July this year so please keep your eyes peeled on their website and Facebook page for the venue and finer details. If you come along, you may even meet me…I love everything that this charity stands for and try to make it to every event I can (which isn’t always easy with being a parent, pregnant, married and working fulltime but these events are so gosh darn worth it that I pull strings where I can!)

So please if you’re feeling lost or in need of a confidence boost please come along to an event or apply for a grant and grow your own purple wings.

About the author

I’m Stephie - a mum, wife and punk rock ostomate, blessed to be from North Yorkshire. I'll be writing about different campaigns that can help ostomates & general lifestyle posts.

Recent Comments

  • Paul Douglas

    How do u find out about the grants for help

  • Sarah Brechon

    Hi Paul, you can apply via this link here: Hope that helps!

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