We get it- You're tired of being sick and in pain. You’ve tried all kinds of medications and treatments and nothing has worked. And now, your worst fear has been realized — you are facing ostomy surgery — and likely asking, “Why Me?” You might even be questioning if your life is worth living. You’re scared and angry and overwhelmed and wondering how your ostomy will affect your life? Will you be able to do the things you enjoy like traveling, sports, swimming, falling in love, having a family, wearing stylish clothes?
You know nothing about how an ostomy works like where to get your supplies or how much they cost. Will your friends know you are wearing a pouch? Will it smell or leak and embarrass you in public? We get it because we’ve been there —faced the same fears and asked the same questions.
That is why we created Alive & Kicking — to walk alongside you through every step of your recovery journey. And to give you HOPE and confidence that not only can you thrive after ostomy surgery but you can LOVE the life you’ve been given. You will be able to enjoy all the activities you did prior to your surgery and no one will ever have to know you are wearing a pouch unless you want to tell them.
You don’t just want to be free from pain and survive. You want to get your life back and thrive.
Information Overload- There is a lot of information out there but where do you start? Who can you trust? The nonprofit Alive & Kicking Ostomy Recovery Program was developed with the support and educational resources from contributing partners; the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, United Ostomy Associations of America, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the WOCN Society, NFL great Rolf Benirschke and a group of committed patients who have walked the same path ahead of you and who are dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
We put this program together so no patient will ever need to travel this journey alone.
Meet Rolf Benirschke
He gets it. Rolf had ostomy surgery in his third season and then returned to the NFL to play seven more years. As the third most accurate placekicker in NFL history when he retired, Rolf had an illustrious 10-year career with the San Diego Chargers during which he earned numerous honors including All-Pro, playing in the Pro Bowl, becoming the 20th player inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame, and being named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, the NFL’s highest honor.
In the middle of Rolf’s third season, he underwent two major abdominal surgeries six days apart that left him with two ostomy pouches. He lost 65 pounds and spent almost six weeks in the ICU fighting for his life. When he was finally released from the hospital, he was forced to take a journey that led to deep despair as he wrestled with whether life was even worth living, back to extraordinary heights, and fulfilling self-discovery. With great support and encouragement from fans, family, and teammates, along with the discovery of an “indomitable spirit” he never knew he possessed, he returned to the NFL and played seven more seasons.
Because he could relate to the physical and emotional pain of the more than 100,000 patients who go through ostomy surgery annually in the U.S., Rolf knew he had to do something to help. So, after years of speaking to WOC nurses and encouraging countless patients along the way, he developed the Alive & Kicking Ostomy Recovery Program, to provide the educational and emotional resources he wished had been available to him, all in one place, that delivered the right information at the right time.
Rolf has a plan for you, to guide you from survival to living functionally, to ultimately getting your life back and thriving.
We’ve taken the best medical/clinical information out there, added Rolf’s personal experience, along with the wisdom from hundreds of other patients, and put it all in an easy to follow format so you can find exactly what you need to know when you need to know it.
Like everything in life, the more effort you put in, the greater your chance to succeed. We’ll offer you specific ways to apply the knowledge, plus work through meaningful exercises and activities.
Share your experiences with other patients. Tell your story. Mentor others and make a difference in someone else’s life.
We’ve made all of this possible through an accessible, easy-to-use virtual program.
"The Alive & Kicking program changed everything for me. Seriously, I felt completely alone, afraid, and unsure how I was going to live with my ostomy. This program came at just the right time and walked me through everything. Now, not only am I doing great, but I also love being a part of this community.”
- Justin from Philadelphia
Provides peace of mind through detailed information about ostomy surgery and the road to recovery including expectations, outcomes, FAQ’s, and valuable resources.
Having 24/7 virtual access to our library of resources gives you the opportunity to find the answers to your questions when you need them, and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed.
Rolf serves as your personal coach, sharing inspirational messages and tips to help you navigate common ostomy-related issues.
Mental Health Support
Celebrate milestones and take advantage of mental health practices like mindfulness and journaling, while receiving valuable encouragement and insights from fellow patients.
Be a Part of a Community
Our community of patients and medical professionals is special. You’ll have the opportunity to share all your joys and struggles with people who want you to succeed.
Important information is provided on everything from the different types of pouches, accessories, problem-solving, diet, support groups, and more.
Join Our Community
Sign up to join the premier online community of ostomy patients, recovering to thrive together. We will send you free resources and program updates.