How Laura is countering stigma

Read how a young catheter user is countering stigma

At the age of 24, Laura Piercey’s bladder suddenly stopped working. This meant that she would constantly need a catheter to empty it. She was given a suprapubic catheter, inserted directly into the bladder through the abdomen. About every four months, the catheter falls out, leaving Laura with no way to empty her bladder. When this happens, she has to go straight to the hospital as an emergency case and have a new one surgically fitted. However, it is the daily challenges that make life difficult for Laura.

“I think the number one thing for my day to day is making sure that I have toilets accessible to me. I don’t actually have any sensation for when I need to drain my catheter, and the leg bag can fill up quite quickly,” she says.

“It’s also about managing people’s expectations. I think that has been a real barrier because a lot of people are not aware of what a catheter is and why people have it. I feel like there is still a lot of stigma.”

Laura uses Instagram (@diduseehercatheter) to share what life with a catheter is like and connect with others in a similar situation. She hopes that it will help to break down the stigma that she has encountered.

“I felt quite isolated, but I was just so astounded at how many young people, and especially young women, have suprapubic catheters that were almost too afraid to share their own experiences,” she says.

Laura fundraised for TUF, undertaking a one day 51 km walk in the Lake District. Training for the walk was extra challenging due to the toll from regular infections, medication and being regularly in and out of hospital.

“The challenge was both mental and physical, but it was something to show myself that I actually can do it and I can push through those barriers.

“I feel that urology is largely underfunded across the health sector – that’s from my own experience and from caring for my grandfather, who had bladder cancer. He had a catheter and he used resources from The Urology Foundation. I just thought, what a great charity to provide resources for people in their time of need.”

You can still support Laura's fundraising here:



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