Nobody Wants to Talk About It
By Sheryl Bennett-Wilson
He’s the easy-going host and producer of Rogers Daytime. He emcees at countless charities and events throughout the year. He’s a husband and father. And now Derick Fage is the Champion of The Canadian Continence Foundation, (TCCF). And for Fage it’s personal. “I was born with high imperforate anus. Which means in lay-man’s terms, I literally didn’t have one,” says Fage. “I had colostomy surgery at birth and 45 years ago that kind of surgery was major.” Fage also had other complications that are not uncommon with this kind of malformation. Until Fage reached school age, he and his family had strategies for coping. But that all changed once he started school.
“My kind of incontinence is not easy to hide,” says Fage, “so sure, kids noticed and I was bullied, a lot. I also had huge support from not just my parents, but teachers and good friends who stood up for me.” Fage says that one family in particular, the Goodwins, were his salvation growing up. Just about every weekend he and his family would head to the Goodwins’ cottage. No one talked about his condition and their children never questioned it. It also gave Fage a stress-free environment so he could learn how to manage his condition better. “Here’s the thing,” says Fage, “I can name every one of my personal heroes, the people who helped me and were supportive. But I can’t name one bully.”
Fage has always been upfront and open about his condition. And sometimes that’s not easy. “It’s not exactly a topic people want to hear about,” says Fage, “but I had to tell my work colleagues and I told my wife about it the first day we met.” So when Jacqueline Cahill, the Executive Director of The Canadian Continence Foundation appeared as a guest on his TV show, he thought it was time to go public. The response was overwhelming. “My Facebook page exploded with messages of support,” says Fage. “More to the point, people shared their stories of isolation with me. That was heartbreaking.” Cahill had come on the show to talk about how incontinence affects millions of Canadians and it has an impact on employers and the health system too (estimated at 8.5 billion). She left the show with a Champion for the Canadian Continence Foundation. As Fage knows, whether it’s fecal or urinary incontinence, the impact on a person’s life can be devastating and he wants to give people hope, raise awareness of continence issues and help them find strategies to cope. “I attend two to three events a week. I host a daily TV show. Can I have a bad day? You bet,” says Fage. “I just want to demonstrate that if I can do it, you can do it too. And there is support through The Canadian Continence Foundation.”
Sheryl Bennett-Wilson is a communications professional with 25 plus years experience.
Reprinted with permission from Marketplace Magazine. www.marketplacenewsletter.com
Visit the TCCF website at www.canadiancontinence.ca