Hi, my name is Claire Carden. I grew up in California’s Bay Area where I graduated high school in 2021. Rather than traveling over my subsequent gap year as I had planned, I spent the summer in and out of the hospital with worsening ulcerative colitis. By September my illness had progressed to the point where I needed to have my colon removed.
I started researching life with an ostomy after my first surgery and found Girls With Guts. By the time I had my second surgery which made my ostomy permanent in January 2022 I was following GWG on social media and decided to apply to their Newbie Retreat, which I was fortunate enough to attend!
I have a passion for learning and educating and I see my experience as an opportunity to spread awareness and decrease the stigma surrounding IBD and ostomies. Finding Girls With Guts helped inspire me to share my story on social media. I became interested in working with GWG after having an amazing time at the Newbie Retreat.
I love to make art: I especially love to knit and sew. I’m moving to London in September 2022 to study at the University of the Arts London and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn about the culture surrounding IBD and ostomies in the UK.