Let me tell you a story about how people are wonderful. A modern Glastonbury tale of social media and kindness.
In April this year, I had my 8th surgery in 5 years. We had Glastonbury tickets and I thought there was no chance of making it, I didn’t think I would be well enough to go.
But I did make it!! Thanks to the accessibility team for sorting me toilet and access route passes and my husband for tons of patience and support. If you are attending a festival, do check on their website for access information and get in touch with their team to discuss your needs. You can find Glastonbury’s Access information here. Also check out Attitude is Everything. Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.
Anyway, I got there to the hottest glasto in a long time and my stoma started playing up. The stoma bags were peeling off and I went through 16 in 4 days. I think it was a mix of the heat, sweating, my still lumpy and uneven tummy and unfamiliar food.
Usually I change my ileostomy bag every 2 or 3 days, so to be safe I packed 18 bags so I’d have loads spare. But by Saturday at Glastonbury I only had 2 bags left and my bag keeps leaking. I enter panic mode, how on earth have I gone through so many? Why didn’t I pack even more? Was I going to have to go home
We went to the medical tent but they didn’t have any ostomy bags. They suggested calling my supplier or going offsite to the nearest hospital and asking them. I called my supplier but they were closed till Monday. The thought of getting offsite and out to a hospital and then getting back seemed too much to bear.
So I decided to tweet my plight with the hashtag #glastomadrama and got 100s of retweets! Maybe just maybe, there will be someone here who has a few bags to spare? I’m panicking, this could be festival over. To get so far to get here then have to leave?! Gutted!
Then I got a phone call from BBC Sheffield – a woman has seen my tweet and called her dad. When he couldn’t get in touch with me, hed seen I present on the BBC and called them to give me his number!
He was at Glasto and has some spare ostomy bags! I can’t believe it, a knight in stoma bag armour!! We navigate a meet up, which anyone who has been to Glastonbury knows can take a long time and be a nightmare. We exchange text messages saying “I’m wearing a shirt with tigers on it and I’m outside the Caberet tent” and “I’m an old man wearing a flowery hat”!! Eventually we find eachother and he’s happy to give me the bags. But there’s a problem, the bags are in his campsite the other end of Glasto, maybe an hour or so walk. I feel a bit sick, I just don’t think I can manage the walk there and back.
So we went to the Welfare Site and asked for help! They called the A Team who came to our rescue and drove us both to his campervan to redeem the ostomy bags and saving my festival!!!!
Andrew spent a good few hours of his Glasto to help out a perfect stranger. He could have ignored the tweet, he could have realised I couldn’t manage the walk ¬ want to wait for the a team to drive us, he could have turned his head and pretended not to notice. He didn’t.
If not you, then who?
This is Andrew. He redeemed my faith in humans and saved my festival. He said to me ‘if you’re able to help someone, then help them, if not you, then who. If not now, then when?’
Thank you Andrew, you’re a true gent!