Serving the Greater Rochester Area Since 1961
Copyright © All Rights Reserved
Genesee Valley Ostomy Association

About Us

Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) was established July 3, 1961 by a group of patients to help persons undergoing surgery for colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy or any other form of surgery which leaves the person with a temporary or permanent stoma. GVOA is committed to the improvement of the lifestyle change for people who have or will have an intestinal or urological diversion.

Our Supporters

We are proud to offer support from the Western New York Affiliate of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society Northeast Region. Our WOC Nurses and other medical professionals will offer advice, facilitation of discussions and education.  Additionally, we often have product sessions from our local ostomy sales representatives.  You can learn about new products, tips and resources to enhance your lifestyle.  Most importantly, we support each other!

Our Members

Our active membership is a very reasonable $15.00 per calendar year.  This money goes to support our participation in activities such as the Youth Rally, for children with ostomies.  All are welcome to join. adults, children and all family members — in fact, we encourage the support of loved ones who surround you.  Come and spend a evening with us, and see what we are all about!  For your membership you will receive emails with helpful tips and newsletters.
“Because I am a spouse of an ostomate, it is so important for me to have support. I feel that in my role as caregiver, the more knowledge I have, the better I can assist my husband. The GVOA is a friendly group which has educational programs and also a social component which benefits both of us.” Janet L. (Rochester, NY)
Seize the opportunity to Live Life!

Our Affiliation

GVOA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) affiliated support group of the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. http://www.ostomy.org Tel. 800-826-0826

GVOA Board of Directors

Joan Aubertine President My journey started in the mid-late 90's, I was 40 something, when my internist decided to send me to have my first ever scoping of the colon. This turned out to be the most horrendous experience of my life. So, I decided that I could live with whatever was wrong with me because I wasn't going through that torture ever again. My pain and discomfort went on for several years until I was sent to a GI specialist for a consultation. I was given all kinds of tests, x-rays and medication that wasn't even available here in the United States, and had to drive to Canada every six weeks for it. I was being treated for ulcerative colitis by this time. The medication put me into remission for a period of about 4 years, so all was great. Early in the year 2004, the colitis returned with a vengeance, so we had to treat it with more scripts, & Remicade(R) infusions without success. Finally in year May 2007, I was sent to a colon rectal surgeon for a consultation and I was told at that time I needed surgery, or I wouldn't be around much longer. My health was failing fast, I could not eat, I lost weight, and was very unhealthy. As I was very green about what an Ostomy was, and how I was supposed to live with this, I was told by my home care nurse there was a support group that could answer these questions that I might had and show me how I should care for myself. I found myself joining the GVOA Ostomy support group here in Rochester just two months later. I became President of GVOA in September 2008, and currently hold that position. I live with my husband Paul Davis, (who happens to be past president of GVOA ) in Ontario, NY. I'm retired from Citibank Student Loan Business. My favorite pastimes are traveling with my husband, reading, playing Mahjong, and being a member of the Red Hat Society. My quote would be - Some say "Why Me", I say "Why Not Me".
Cindy Rosenbloom Vice President Where does one begin?  I was treated for five years for an ulcer.  At the ripe old age of 55 I had a sigmoidscopy and it was discovered that I had severe Crohn’s disease. I had been on aggressive medical therapy and had several hospitalizations. I was put on steroids that were not approved by the FDA and my insurance would not cover these drugs. I was steroid-dependent and had gone through several infusions of medication; and had been on immunosuppressive therapy, as well, which I was unable to tolerate as it gave me pancreatitis. My primary and gastroenterologist fought with the insurance company and finally they agreed to cover these drugs.  One of the drugs I was on gave me pancreatitis for which I was hospitalized. In September of 2000, my neighbor stopped by, I was dehydrated and very weak (almost comatose).  She called my primary doctor and he said take her to Emergency.  After being admitted to the hospital, my doctor ran all sorts of tests on me to see what was causing my health to deteriorate and loss of weight, and they didn’t know what was causing this.  After being a patient for almost three months an ileostomy was performed on November 9, 2000, this resulted in a total proctocolectomy and ileostomy.  I did not know a thing about what ileostomy was.  So I asked my doctors if there was someone I could talk to about this.  I told them it had to be a female, my age, and some one who was active in outdoor activities. Did my life change?  I had leakages after leakages. My home care nurse told me about the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association and suggested that I go.  It took me almost nine months to get enough courage to go after having several accidents with leakages. I retired from the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in 1999.  I enjoy traveling, playing Mahjong with our GVOA president and I’m a member of the Red Hats of Ontario. My quote would be.. Live for today; as you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
William A. Borrelli Treasurer/Newsletter Editor William A. Borrelli has been a member of the GVOA since 2000, when he learned that he was going to have surgery as a result from living with Chrons/Colitis since diagnosis in 1981/1982. A proctocololectomy with ileostomy happened in May 2000. Since then, Bill has taken on the responsibility of the GVOA's newsletter, and a couple years later, became Treasurer. After some time, he opted to put up a simple website.  Having an ileosotmy has slowed Bill down very little. In 2012, Bill trained for, and completed a marathon. And continues to run (aside from a need to recover from Achilles tendinitis) and does other activities. Some of which are: climbing 4 of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks (more to come), riding bike, swimming, and lifting weights. All of which have caused no issues for Bill. According to Bill, life is much better now, without that diseased colon. The only thing Bill does miss is the reading time he used to have with all the bathroom visits.
Amy Borrelli Secretary
Roger Levy Board Member I became involved in support groups upon the death of my in-laws when my wife and I began to attend a grief support group for adult children of deceased parents.  The attraction was to be able to speak about my thoughts and to tell stories about the exceptional people I have lost. It was not clear to me what was the function of a support group. The problems of daily life are fair game, not just those directly connected with the issue that brought us all together. My connection with others who have died are of interest to people in the group, not just with my direct family.  Later I became ill with Crohn's disease so it was natural for me to join a group sponsored by the Crohn's And Colitis Foundation.  As my disease became serious, it was urged by one other member that the ileostomy being suggested was my best course of action.  After the operation, I was given a suggestion by a nurse to consider an Ostomy support group.  I have a vague feeling that people are not very eager to listen to talk about my pain and sadness, unless they are in the medical field.  People are not saying so, but it is logical that a better place to discuss my problems and daily struggles is required. There are other members in these groups that have had more direct rejection by co-workers, though I have not.  Assuming that I might be burdening people at work with scary and/or gross descriptions of these made me rely on the fellow ostomates to listen instead. I have seen and heard that I am not alone, not the most affected or the least. It means so much more to have received a sympathetic hearing from one who has been there before.  My background is : I began piano lessons when I was six, went to East High (Rochester) where I met my wife and became interested in classical music, ceramics, literature and history, Received a BA University of Rochester 1975, History. I have 34 years in the bicycle industry, 29 years as a business owner : Freewheelers Bicycle Shop, 1757 Mount Hope Av., 14620. I never learned to drive a car so I force myself to exercise by riding on a daily basis, which has been the major reason that my recovery from surgery and illness has been rapid, according to many doctors. Playing the piano is my major hobby, along with reading history and philosophy.
Paul Davis Immediate Past President My ostomy story begins shortly after my 18th birthday when I saw blood where it shouldn't have been. After some examinations by a GI doctor, ulcerative colitis was identified and a regimen of sulfa drugs was prescribed with limited success. After some six years of failing health and extreme weight loss, an ileostomy was performed with resultant total colectomy. I was out of work six weeks and then returned to work to a totally different world. Most every new day brought an exasperating leak in the fit of the pouch and even changes of manufacturers and a trip to Philadelphia for a special fitting for what I called "tire tube appliance" did not cure the problems of leaks. Thirteen years later found me in NYC as a patient in Mt. Sinai with a brand new continent ileostomy which should have been the surgery to return my life to normalcy, but after two years and five failed surgeries, I found myself waking up from yet another surgery in Rochester General with a left sided brooke ileostomy which I still have today. And one more surgery, just for good measure one year later to repair a hernia brought my string of full open abdominal surgeries to a much desired end. Interestingly, I never became involved with GVOA until after all these surgeries were history. Helping others through some of what I had endured was the main thrust of my becoming active with GVOA, first as a board member, and then total involvement as president which lasted for over 15 years. I never tire of helping new ostomates find their way through the uncertainties of a different life sporting either of a temporary or permanent abdominal stoma. As an ostomate, I am in the minority amongst all people and something about that very statistic has kept me attending our meetings and social gatherings, for there, we are the majority with other unique people adapting to a new lifestyle just as each of us has had to adjust and continue forward living life to the fullest. I would say my quote in life is "THE BEST IS YET TO COME"
William Sablosky Board Member Before I was diagnosed with ulcerous colitis at age 45, I had never really been ill other than a common cold.  I had no surgeries or broken bones, so I was not prepared for what was to come.  After going through all the medications I could use to control the colitis, while in the hospital for a flair up, I decided to have ileostomy surgery.  I was not aware of our group until after the surgery.  A nurse from the hospital suggested I go to a GVOA meeting.  So I did and the first thing I remember saying to myself was “where are all the people who had the surgery I had” I thought I would be able to tell who had a “bag” and who didn’t.  I was pleasantly surprised to see I could not tell the difference because there is no difference!  Actually I feel lucky, I no longer need to sit in public restrooms or stop on long car rides or use airplane bathrooms. Lol.  After a short recovery, I went back to work and resumed all the same activities I did before I became ill.  I’ve been very lucky to have no issues with my stoma or finding and using appliances.  I continue to attend/support the group because I want to help others and show that you can have a wonderful life after surgery.  The members of the GVOA are wonderful people.  They were there to listen and answer all my questions.  I also received many “tips” from other ostomates, which are priceless.  Who better to talk to than someone who has an ileostomy and understands exactly what you are going through. 
Gary M. Manuse Board Member/Website Designer Gary Manuse is a native of the Greater Rochester New York area and currently lives in the rural town of Williamson, New York. Gary has been actively involved with the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) since 2013 and currently serves as a Director on the GVOA Board. Gary became a member of the GVOA to help provide support and caregiving for an immediate family member who was dealing with severe ulcerative colitis. Gary’s focus on the Board is to help the Association, and its members, to better recognize the caregivers who provide support to individuals with an ostomy. Gary has been working in the field of education since 1990. He earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Business Administration, a Master of Public Administration Degree in Information Systems Management; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from SUNY College at Brockport. Gary also earned an Associate in Science Degree in Business Administration from Monroe Community College. Gary holds two New York State permanent certifications: School Business Administrator and School District Administrator. He is currently the Assistant Business Official for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, New York where he oversees the fiscal management, student records, and transportation operations for Agency’s largest  program budgets. Gary is currently the Vice-Chairperson for the Regional 11 School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS); and served in the position of Secretary for three years. He is also the Vice President for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Administrative and Supervisory Association. Gary is also an involved member of the New York State Association of School Business Administrators. In addition to Gary's volunteer work with the GVOA and his professional associations, Gary also volunteers for the SUNY College at Brockport Alumni Association, is a member of the SUNY College at Brockport Board of Ambassadors for the School of Education and Human Development. He also helps to raise student scholarship funds and serves as planning committee member of the Monroe 2-Orleans Educational Foundation. Gary's side interests includes learning new technologies, cooking, photography, and doing work on his property.
Copyright ©  All Rights Reserved.
Genesee Valley Ostomy Association

About Us

Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) was established July 3, 1961 by a group of patients to help persons undergoing surgery for colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy or any other form of surgery which leaves the person with a temporary or permanent stoma. GVOA is committed to the improvement of the lifestyle change for people who have or will have an intestinal or urological diversion.

Our Supporters

We are proud to offer support from the Western New York Affiliate of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society Northeast Region. Our WOC Nurses and other medical professionals will offer advice, facilitation of discussions and education.  Additionally, we often have product sessions from our local ostomy sales representatives.  You can learn about new products, tips and resources to enhance your lifestyle.  Most importantly, we support each other!

Our Members

Our active membership is a very reasonable $15.00 per calendar year.  This money goes to support our participation in activities such as the Youth Rally, for children with ostomies.  All are welcome to join. adults, children and all family members — in fact, we encourage the support of loved ones who surround you.  Come and spend a evening with us, and see what we are all about!  For your membership you will receive emails with helpful tips and newsletters.
“Because I am a spouse of an ostomate, it is so important for me to have support. I feel that in my role as caregiver, the more knowledge I have, the better I can assist my husband. The GVOA is a friendly group which has educational programs and also a social component which benefits both of us.” Janet L. (Rochester, NY)
Seize the opportunity to Live Life!

GVOA Board of Directors

Joan Aubertine President My journey started in the mid-late 90's, I was 40 something, when my internist decided to send me to have my first ever scoping of the colon. This turned out to be the most horrendous experience of my life. So, I decided that I could live with whatever was wrong with me because I wasn't going through that torture ever again. My pain and discomfort went on for several years until I was sent to a GI specialist for a consultation. I was given all kinds of tests, x-rays and medication that wasn't even available here in the United States, and had to drive to Canada every six weeks for it. I was being treated for ulcerative colitis by this time. The medication put me into remission for a period of about 4 years, so all was great. Early in the year 2004, the colitis returned with a vengeance, so we had to treat it with more scripts, & Remicade(R) infusions without success. Finally in year May 2007, I was sent to a colon rectal surgeon for a consultation and I was told at that time I needed surgery, or I wouldn't be around much longer. My health was failing fast, I could not eat, I lost weight, and was very unhealthy. As I was very green about what an Ostomy was, and how I was supposed to live with this, I was told by my home care nurse there was a support group that could answer these questions that I might had and show me how I should care for myself. I found myself joining the GVOA Ostomy support group here in Rochester just two months later. I became President of GVOA in September 2008, and currently hold that position. I live with my husband Paul Davis, (who happens to be past president of GVOA ) in Ontario, NY. I'm retired from Citibank Student Loan Business. My favorite pastimes are traveling with my husband, reading, playing Mahjong, and being a member of the Red Hat Society. My quote would be - Some say "Why Me", I say "Why Not Me".
Cindy Rosenbloom Vice President Where does one begin?  I was treated for five years for an ulcer.  At the ripe old age of 55 I had a sigmoidscopy and it was discovered that I had severe Crohn’s disease. I had been on aggressive medical therapy and had several hospitalizations. I was put on steroids that were not approved by the FDA and my insurance would not cover these drugs. I was steroid- dependent and had gone through several infusions of medication; and had been on immunosuppressive therapy, as well, which I was unable to tolerate as it gave me pancreatitis. My primary and gastroenterologist fought with the insurance company and finally they agreed to cover these drugs.  One of the drugs I was on gave me pancreatitis for which I was hospitalized. In September of 2000, my neighbor stopped by, I was dehydrated and very weak (almost comatose).  She called my primary doctor and he said take her to Emergency.  After being admitted to the hospital, my doctor ran all sorts of tests on me to see what was causing my health to deteriorate and loss of weight, and they didn’t know what was causing this.  After being a patient for almost three months an ileostomy was performed on November 9, 2000, this resulted in a total proctocolectomy and ileostomy.  I did not know a thing about what ileostomy was.  So I asked my doctors if there was someone I could talk to about this.  I told them it had to be a female, my age, and some one who was active in outdoor activities. Did my life change?  I had leakages after leakages. My home care nurse told me about the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association and suggested that I go.  It took me almost nine months to get enough courage to go after having several accidents with leakages. I retired from the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in 1999.  I enjoy traveling, playing Mahjong with our GVOA president and I’m a member of the Red Hats of Ontario. My quote would be.. Live for today; as you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Catherine Mohl Secretary
William A. Borrelli Treasurer/Newsletter Editor William A. Borrelli has been a member of the GVOA since 2000, when he learned that he was going to have surgery as a result from living with Chrons/Colitis since diagnosis in 1981/1982. A proctocololectomy with ileostomy happened in May 2000. Since then, Bill has taken on the responsibility of the GVOA's newsletter, and a couple years later, became Treasurer. After some time, he opted to put up a simple website.  Having an ileosotmy has slowed Bill down very little. In 2012, Bill trained for, and completed a marathon. And continues to run (aside from a need to recover from Achilles tendinitis) and does other activities. Some of which are: climbing 4 of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks (more to come), riding bike, swimming, and lifting weights. All of which have caused no issues for Bill. According to Bill, life is much better now, without that diseased colon. The only thing Bill does miss is the reading time he used to have with all the bathroom visits. Roger Levy Board Member I became involved in support groups upon the death of my in-laws when my wife and I began to attend a grief support group for adult children of deceased parents.  The attraction was to be able to speak about my thoughts and to tell stories about the exceptional people I have lost. It was not clear to me what was the function of a support group. The problems of daily life are fair game, not just those directly connected with the issue that brought us all together. My connection with others who have died are of interest to people in the group, not just with my direct family.  Later I became ill with Crohn's disease so it was natural for me to join a group sponsored by the Crohn's And Colitis Foundation.  As my disease became serious, it was urged by one other member that the ileostomy being suggested was my best course of action.  After the operation, I was given a suggestion by a nurse to consider an Ostomy support group.  I have a vague feeling that people are not very eager to listen to talk about my pain and sadness, unless they are in the medical field.  People are not saying so, but it is logical that a better place to discuss my problems and daily struggles is required. There are other members in these groups that have had more direct rejection by co-workers, though I have not.  Assuming that I might be burdening people at work with scary and/or gross descriptions of these made me rely on the fellow ostomates to listen instead. I have seen and heard that I am not alone, not the most affected or the least. It means so much more to have received a sympathetic hearing from one who has been there before.  My background is : I began piano lessons when I was six, went to East High (Rochester) where I met my wife and became interested in classical music, ceramics, literature and history, Received a BA University of Rochester 1975, History. I have 34 years in the bicycle industry, 29 years as a business owner : Freewheelers Bicycle Shop, 1757 Mount Hope Av., 14620. I never learned to drive a car so I force myself to exercise by riding on a daily basis, which has been the major reason that my recovery from surgery and illness has been rapid, according to many doctors. Playing the piano is my major hobby, along with reading history and philosophy.
Paul Davis Immediate Past President My ostomy story begins shortly after my 18th birthday when I saw blood where it shouldn't have been. After some examinations by a GI doctor, ulcerative colitis was identified and a regimen of sulfa drugs was prescribed with limited success. After some six years of failing health and extreme weight loss, an ileostomy was performed with resultant total colectomy. I was out of work six weeks and then returned to work to a totally different world. Most every new day brought an exasperating leak in the fit of the pouch and even changes of manufacturers and a trip to Philadelphia for a special fitting for what I called "tire tube appliance" did not cure the problems of leaks. Thirteen years later found me in NYC as a patient in Mt. Sinai with a brand new continent ileostomy which should have been the surgery to return my life to normalcy, but after two years and five failed surgeries, I found myself waking up from yet another surgery in Rochester General with a left sided brooke ileostomy which I still have today. And one more surgery, just for good measure one year later to repair a hernia brought my string of full open abdominal surgeries to a much desired end. Interestingly, I never became involved with GVOA until after all these surgeries were history. Helping others through some of what I had endured was the main thrust of my becoming active with GVOA, first as a board member, and then total involvement as president which lasted for over 15 years. I never tire of helping new ostomates find their way through the uncertainties of a different life sporting either of a temporary or permanent abdominal stoma. As an ostomate, I am in the minority amongst all people and something about that very statistic has kept me attending our meetings and social gatherings, for there, we are the majority with other unique people adapting to a new lifestyle just as each of us has had to adjust and continue forward living life to the fullest. I would say my quote in life is "THE BEST IS YET TO COME"
William Sablosky Board Member Before I was diagnosed with ulcerous colitis at age 45, I had never really been ill other than a common cold.  I had no surgeries or broken bones, so I was not prepared for what was to come.  After going through all the medications I could use to control the colitis, while in the hospital for a flair up, I decided to have ileostomy surgery.  I was not aware of our group until after the surgery.  A nurse from the hospital suggested I go to a GVOA meeting.  So I did and the first thing I remember saying to myself was “where are all the people who had the surgery I had” I thought I would be able to tell who had a “bag” and who didn’t.  I was pleasantly surprised to see I could not tell the difference because there is no difference!  Actually I feel lucky, I no longer need to sit in public restrooms or stop on long car rides or use airplane bathrooms. Lol.  After a short recovery, I went back to work and resumed all the same activities I did before I became ill.  I’ve been very lucky to have no issues with my stoma or finding and using appliances.  I continue to attend/support the group because I want to help others and show that you can have a wonderful life after surgery.  The members of the GVOA are wonderful people.  They were there to listen and answer all my questions.  I also received many “tips” from other ostomates, which are priceless.  Who better to talk to than someone who has an ileostomy and understands exactly what you are going through. 
Gary M. Manuse Board Member/Website Designer Gary Manuse is a native of the Greater Rochester New York area and currently lives in the rural town of Williamson, New York. Gary has been actively involved with the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) since 2013 and currently serves as a Director on the GVOA Board. Gary became a member of the GVOA to help provide support and caregiving for an immediate family member who was dealing with severe ulcerative colitis. Gary’s focus on the Board is to help the Association, and its members, to better recognize the caregivers who provide support to individuals with an ostomy. Gary has been working in the field of education since 1990. He earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Business Administration, a Master of Public Administration Degree in Information Systems Management; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from SUNY College at Brockport. Gary also earned an Associate in Science Degree in Business Administration from Monroe Community College. Gary holds two New York State permanent certifications: School Business Administrator and School District Administrator. He is currently the Assistant Business Official for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, New York where he oversees the fiscal management, student records, and transportation operations for Agency’s largest  program budgets. Gary is currently the Vice-Chairperson for the Regional 11 School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS); and served in the position of Secretary for three years. He is also the Vice President for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Administrative and Supervisory Association. Gary is also an involved member of the New York State Association of School Business Administrators. In addition to Gary's volunteer work with the GVOA and his professional associations, Gary also volunteers for the SUNY College at Brockport Alumni Association, is a member of the SUNY College at Brockport Board of Ambassadors for the School of Education and Human Development. He also helps to raise student scholarship funds and serves as planning committee member of the Monroe 2-Orleans Educational Foundation. Gary's side interests includes learning new technologies, cooking, photography, and doing work on his property.
Copyright ©  All Rights Reserved.
Genesee Valley Ostomy Association

About Us

Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) was established July 3, 1961 by a group of patients to help persons undergoing surgery for colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy or any other form of surgery which leaves the person with a temporary or permanent stoma. GVOA is committed to the improvement of the lifestyle change for people who have or will have an intestinal or urological diversion.

Our Supporters

We are proud to offer support from the Western New York Affiliate of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society Northeast Region. Our WOC Nurses and other medical professionals will offer advice, facilitation of discussions and education.  Additionally, we often have product sessions from our local ostomy sales representatives.  You can learn about new products, tips and resources to enhance your lifestyle.  Most importantly, we support each other!

Our Members

Our active membership is a very reasonable $15.00 per calendar year.  This money goes to support our participation in activities such as the Youth Rally, for children with ostomies.  All are welcome to join. adults, children and all family members — in fact, we encourage the support of loved ones who surround you.  Come and spend a evening with us, and see what we are all about!  For your membership you will receive emails with helpful tips and newsletters.
“Because I am a spouse of an ostomate, it is so important for me to have support. I feel that in my role as caregiver, the more knowledge I have, the better I can assist my husband. The GVOA is a friendly group which has educational programs and also a social component which benefits both of us.” Janet L. (Rochester, NY)
Seize the opportunity to Live Life!

GVOA Board of Directors

Become a Member

Joan Aubertine President My journey started in the mid-late 90's, I was 40 something, when my internist decided to send me to have my first ever scoping of the colon. This turned out to be the most horrendous experience of my life. So, I decided that I could live with whatever was wrong with me because I wasn't going through that torture ever again. My pain and discomfort went on for several years until I was sent to a GI specialist for a consultation. I was given all kinds of tests, x-rays and medication that wasn't even available here in the United States, and had to drive to Canada every six weeks for it. I was being treated for ulcerative colitis by this time. The medication put me into remission for a period of about 4 years, so all was great. Early in the year 2004, the colitis returned with a vengeance, so we had to treat it with more scripts, & Remicade(R) infusions without success. Finally in year May 2007, I was sent to a colon rectal surgeon for a consultation and I was told at that time I needed surgery, or I wouldn't be around much longer. My health was failing fast, I could not eat, I lost weight, and was very unhealthy. As I was very green about what an Ostomy was, and how I was supposed to live with this, I was told by my home care nurse there was a support group that could answer these questions that I might had and show me how I should care for myself. I found myself joining the GVOA Ostomy support group here in Rochester just two months later. I became President of GVOA in September 2008, and currently hold that position. I live with my husband Paul Davis, (who happens to be past president of GVOA ) in Ontario, NY. I'm retired from Citibank Student Loan Business. My favorite pastimes are traveling with my husband, reading, playing Mahjong, and being a member of the Red Hat Society. My quote would be - Some say "Why Me", I say "Why Not Me".
Cindy Rosenbloom Vice President Where does one begin?  I was treated for five years for an ulcer.  At the ripe old age of 55 I had a sigmoidscopy and it was discovered that I had severe Crohn’s disease. I had been on aggressive medical therapy and had several hospitalizations. I was put on steroids that were not approved by the FDA and my insurance would not cover these drugs. I was steroid-dependent and had gone through several infusions of medication; and had been on immunosuppressive therapy, as well, which I was unable to tolerate as it gave me pancreatitis. My primary and gastroenterologist fought with the insurance company and finally they agreed to cover these drugs.  One of the drugs I was on gave me pancreatitis for which I was hospitalized. In September of 2000, my neighbor stopped by, I was dehydrated and very weak (almost comatose).  She called my primary doctor and he said take her to Emergency.  After being admitted to the hospital, my doctor ran all sorts of tests on me to see what was causing my health to deteriorate and loss of weight, and they didn’t know what was causing this.  After being a patient for almost three months an ileostomy was performed on November 9, 2000, this resulted in a total proctocolectomy and ileostomy.  I did not know a thing about what ileostomy was.  So I asked my doctors if there was someone I could talk to about this.  I told them it had to be a female, my age, and some one who was active in outdoor activities. Did my life change?  I had leakages after leakages. My home care nurse told me about the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association and suggested that I go.  It took me almost nine months to get enough courage to go after having several accidents with leakages. I retired from the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital in 1999.  I enjoy traveling, playing Mahjong with our GVOA president and I’m a member of the Red Hats of Ontario. My quote would be.. Live for today; as you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Catherine Mohl Secretary
William A. Borrelli Treasurer/Newsletter Editor William A. Borrelli has been a member of the GVOA since 2000, when he learned that he was going to have surgery as a result from living with Chrons/Colitis since diagnosis in 1981/1982. A proctocololectomy with ileostomy happened in May 2000. Since then, Bill has taken on the responsibility of the GVOA's newsletter, and a couple years later, became Treasurer. After some time, he opted to put up a simple website.  Having an ileosotmy has slowed Bill down very little. In 2012, Bill trained for, and completed a marathon. And continues to run (aside from a need to recover from Achilles tendinitis) and does other activities. Some of which are: climbing 4 of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks (more to come), riding bike, swimming, and lifting weights. All of which have caused no issues for Bill. According to Bill, life is much better now, without that diseased colon. The only thing Bill does miss is the reading time he used to have with all the bathroom visits. Roger Levy Board Member I became involved in support groups upon the death of my in-laws when my wife and I began to attend a grief support group for adult children of deceased parents.  The attraction was to be able to speak about my thoughts and to tell stories about the exceptional people I have lost. It was not clear to me what was the function of a support group. The problems of daily life are fair game, not just those directly connected with the issue that brought us all together. My connection with others who have died are of interest to people in the group, not just with my direct family.  Later I became ill with Crohn's disease so it was natural for me to join a group sponsored by the Crohn's And Colitis Foundation.  As my disease became serious, it was urged by one other member that the ileostomy being suggested was my best course of action.  After the operation, I was given a suggestion by a nurse to consider an Ostomy support group.  I have a vague feeling that people are not very eager to listen to talk about my pain and sadness, unless they are in the medical field.  People are not saying so, but it is logical that a better place to discuss my problems and daily struggles is required. There are other members in these groups that have had more direct rejection by co-workers, though I have not.  Assuming that I might be burdening people at work with scary and/or gross descriptions of these made me rely on the fellow ostomates to listen instead. I have seen and heard that I am not alone, not the most affected or the least. It means so much more to have received a sympathetic hearing from one who has been there before.  My background is : I began piano lessons when I was six, went to East High (Rochester) where I met my wife and became interested in classical music, ceramics, literature and history, Received a BA University of Rochester 1975, History. I have 34 years in the bicycle industry, 29 years as a business owner : Freewheelers Bicycle Shop, 1757 Mount Hope Av., 14620. I never learned to drive a car so I force myself to exercise by riding on a daily basis, which has been the major reason that my recovery from surgery and illness has been rapid, according to many doctors. Playing the piano is my major hobby, along with reading history and philosophy.
Paul Davis Immediate Past President My ostomy story begins shortly after my 18th birthday when I saw blood where it shouldn't have been. After some examinations by a GI doctor, ulcerative colitis was identified and a regimen of sulfa drugs was prescribed with limited success. After some six years of failing health and extreme weight loss, an ileostomy was performed with resultant total colectomy. I was out of work six weeks and then returned to work to a totally different world. Most every new day brought an exasperating leak in the fit of the pouch and even changes of manufacturers and a trip to Philadelphia for a special fitting for what I called "tire tube appliance" did not cure the problems of leaks. Thirteen years later found me in NYC as a patient in Mt. Sinai with a brand new continent ileostomy which should have been the surgery to return my life to normalcy, but after two years and five failed surgeries, I found myself waking up from yet another surgery in Rochester General with a left sided brooke ileostomy which I still have today. And one more surgery, just for good measure one year later to repair a hernia brought my string of full open abdominal surgeries to a much desired end. Interestingly, I never became involved with GVOA until after all these surgeries were history. Helping others through some of what I had endured was the main thrust of my becoming active with GVOA, first as a board member, and then total involvement as president which lasted for over 15 years. I never tire of helping new ostomates find their way through the uncertainties of a different life sporting either of a temporary or permanent abdominal stoma. As an ostomate, I am in the minority amongst all people and something about that very statistic has kept me attending our meetings and social gatherings, for there, we are the majority with other unique people adapting to a new lifestyle just as each of us has had to adjust and continue forward living life to the fullest. I would say my quote in life is "THE BEST IS YET TO COME"
William Sablosky Board Member Before I was diagnosed with ulcerous colitis at age 45, I had never really been ill other than a common cold.  I had no surgeries or broken bones, so I was not prepared for what was to come.  After going through all the medications I could use to control the colitis, while in the hospital for a flair up, I decided to have ileostomy surgery.  I was not aware of our group until after the surgery.  A nurse from the hospital suggested I go to a GVOA meeting.  So I did and the first thing I remember saying to myself was “where are all the people who had the surgery I had” I thought I would be able to tell who had a “bag” and who didn’t.  I was pleasantly surprised to see I could not tell the difference because there is no difference!  Actually I feel lucky, I no longer need to sit in public restrooms or stop on long car rides or use airplane bathrooms. Lol.  After a short recovery, I went back to work and resumed all the same activities I did before I became ill.  I’ve been very lucky to have no issues with my stoma or finding and using appliances.  I continue to attend/support the group because I want to help others and show that you can have a wonderful life after surgery.  The members of the GVOA are wonderful people.  They were there to listen and answer all my questions.  I also received many “tips” from other ostomates, which are priceless.  Who better to talk to than someone who has an ileostomy and understands exactly what you are going through. 
Gary M. Manuse Board Member/Website Designer Gary Manuse is a native of the Greater Rochester New York area and currently lives in the rural town of Williamson, New York. Gary has been actively involved with the Genesee Valley Ostomy Association (GVOA) since 2013 and currently serves as a Director on the GVOA Board. Gary became a member of the GVOA to help provide support and caregiving for an immediate family member who was dealing with severe ulcerative colitis. Gary’s focus on the Board is to help the Association, and its members, to better recognize the caregivers who provide support to individuals with an ostomy. Gary has been working in the field of education since 1990. He earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Business Administration, a Master of Public Administration Degree in Information Systems Management; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Marketing Management from SUNY College at Brockport. Gary also earned an Associate in Science Degree in Business Administration from Monroe Community College. Gary holds two New York State permanent certifications: School Business Administrator and School District Administrator. He is currently the Assistant Business Official for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, New York where he oversees the fiscal management, student records, and transportation operations for Agency’s largest  program budgets. Gary is currently the Vice-Chairperson for the Regional 11 School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS); and served in the position of Secretary for three years. He is also the Vice President for the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Administrative and Supervisory Association. Gary is also an involved member of the New York State Association of School Business Administrators. In addition to Gary's volunteer work with the GVOA and his professional associations, Gary also volunteers for the SUNY College at Brockport Alumni Association, is a member of the SUNY College at Brockport Board of Ambassadors for the School of Education and Human Development. He also helps to raise student scholarship funds and serves as planning committee member of the Monroe 2-Orleans Educational Foundation. Gary's side interests includes learning new technologies, cooking, photography, and doing work on his property.