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Mandi Laing – Hampshire

Although born in London, Mandi has moved about and lived for a while in Minneapolis before returning to the UK and settling in Basingstoke. Married to Iain, she has six stepdaughters and two grandchildren. She works in the treasury function of a large multi-national private company.

Mandi was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1986 and subsequently with anal cancer in 2010. Treatment of the latter included the creation of a permanent stoma. At this point she reassessed her life. She became a magistrate and got involved with various voluntary initiatives, including Colostomy UK.

We are really pleased that Mandi Laing is now Colostomy UK’s new chairperson. This is what Mandi had to say about herself and taking on the role:

“I met Henry (my colostomy) just before Christmas 2010, after a 2-year period of misdiagnosis and multiple trips to the GP. What had been diagnosed as piles was actually cancer and my issues with going to the toilet were due to a lemon size tumour slowly closing my rectum down. It wasn’t the best Christmas ever, but it was the start of a new phase of my life. Like most people, I did not have a colostomy on my wish list, but by the time I got Henry, he made a more positive impact on my life than almost anything else (barring getting married and buying my dog!). He gave me my life back, enabling me to be more than 30 seconds from a toilet and reminded me that you’re only here once and you should grasp every opportunity you can. I applied for a new job, became a magistrate and got involved with the Colostomy Association, now Colostomy UK.

I am now the chair of this fantastic charity. I’m energised by the way the charity is changing, the initiatives we are involved in and our great team, from those in office, through our registered volunteers, to people who offer support and help on our closed Facebook group. Our general manager (Libby) is a force for change and is helping modernise and translate our strategic vision into tangible results. The projects and campaigns we are involved with will deliver positive changes in the ongoing lives of ostomates that complement and continue our more traditional support services, which tend to be weighted towards the early days of being an ostomate.

It is a great honour to be the Chair of Colostomy UK and I am confident we will continue to improve the life of ostomates, in new and exciting ways.”

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