Buttony: normalising ostomies for kids

01 January 2024
Meet Buttony
Meet Buttony

Find out all about Buttony Bear and how the charity A Bear Named Buttony helps children across the UK

Buttony recently attended the Association for Stoma Care Nurses conference in Brighton and we were delighted to find that Buttony is well known across the stoma clinical community. We want to continue to spread the word about Buttony and how we can help children, young people and their families.

Raising education and awareness around stomas is an important part of our charitable aims so that we can get children, families and the wider population to speak openly about them.

So, who are we? The charity A Bear Named Buttony was set up by Jenny Gow in the northeast of Scotland as a way of helping her daughter accept her upcoming stoma operation. It was clear to Jenny that there was a lack of support materials and information at the time for children and families. Buttony was therefore created
to address this gap and enable children to understand their stoma and explain it to friends and siblings.

Buttony is a teddy bear with a button stoma who has become a friend to over 5800 children across the country, who now have their own individual Buttony Bear. The idea is simple – a bear with a button stoma that children can relate to as being just like them. The stoma is placed on the bear in the same location as the child’s stoma; this is a unique feature of what we do so that children can relate to their bear as being the same as them.

Buttony can be a friend to children with
a stoma

All of our bears and products are donated or gifted free of charge to children and young people with a stoma.

As well as Buttony Bear, our charity has also developed a storybook called A Friend Just Like Me. Illustrated by a local artist, the book is aimed at younger children and has been very effective in helping them understand that they are not alone. Copies of the book have been sent to every library across the country and will be included in a school educational project that is in progress.

A more recent development has been a colouring book which shows Buttony undertaking a variety of activities, helping to convey the message that having a stoma does not stop children from doing what they enjoy.

Buttony now has his own colouring book!

A Young Adult Pack is another of our resources aimed at the 16-25-year age range. This toilet bag includes non-medical items and other resources that can be
stored discreetly.

Jenny herself sums up what Buttony is all about:

‘A Bear Named Buttony prides itself in supporting such a brave and wonderful community of children and their families. We are a very small part of their journey but, from the feedback we receive, it is a very effective one which makes the role of all our volunteers so much more worthwhile.

As a charity, we are self-funding and rely solely on donations and it is heart-warming to see how so many of the children want to give something back from donating their pocket money to taking part in sponsored events and local collections to hosting their own events and even appearing on television, all in the name
of Buttony’.

Want to find out more, or support us? Why not sponsor a bear or a Young Adult Pack for £30? Perhaps gift a colouring book with a donation of just £2.50 or provide a storybook for £5? Please get in touch!

A Bear Named Buttony
Website: www.buttonybear.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/buttonybears
Link to donate: www.justgiving.com/buttonybear