Well-known ostomates

While ostomy surgery is still fairly rare, it’s not as rare as you may think. In fact, over 750,000 people live with ostomies in America alone. According to the United Ostomy Association of America, over 130,000 life-saving ostomy surgeries occur in America each year. Interestingly, there are a number of key figures in history who have also undergone ostomy surgery. Some of these individuals were sporting professionals, who went on to enjoy successful and healthy careers even after having their external pouch fitted. Here are a few famous ostomates that you may have heard of who were affected by colon diseases and who have had ostomy surgery to keep them alive.

Famous Ostomy Bag Users

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight EisenhowerFormer President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower had an ileotransverse colostomy operation after developing Crohn’s disease. In 1923, an appendectomy was performed after Eisenhower experienced pain on his right lower quadrant. Without the surgery, his bowel obstruction could have killed him, and while the surgery was risky, as he had suffered from a heart attack just nine months before, the surgery saved his life and he began conducting normal official proceedings just five days after his operation.

Rolf Benirschke

Rolf BenirschkeNFL player Rolf Benirschke retired as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, all whilst battling ulcerative colitis. In 1979 he had the majority of his large intestine removed, which left him with two ostomy appliances. Incredibly, Rolf returned to American Football shortly after and make a remarkable comeback.

Marvin Bush

Marvin BushSon of former US President George W Bush, Marvin Bush, developed ulcerative colitis in 1985 and had his large intestine removed to remedy the condition. He then relied on an external ostomy pouch to dispose of his waste, however he still continued to succeed in his profession and became the spokesperson of CCFA because of his expertise in public speaking.


Al Geiberger

Al GeibergerAccomplished professional golfer Al Geiberger had surgery to remove his colon in 1980 and an ileostomy to remove the waste from his body. He gives credit to Rolf Benirschke, who became his inspiration for overcoming the illness and continuing with his professional sporting dreams. He also created the Mr. 59 Tournament for charity, and the proceeds go to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

There are other famous ostomates who have made public their ostomy. They, as with this article, help people have hope and courage when facing surgery. There can be a high quality of life when living with ostomy, and Colo-Majic pouch liners are a part of that life.