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Metro Maryland Ostomy Association's History


Established in 1974 by Founder and President Emeritus Horace Saunders, MMOA's focus and purpose has been to: 

  • Assist, educate, and provide support to all persons who may require or who have undergone ostomy surgery resulting in a colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy, and/or alternate diversionary procedures.

  • Educate all those involved in the care of ostomy patients.


Our Founder


Horace Saunders was born in England, and at age 18 served in the British Army in the jungles of the China/Burma/India Theater where, after 4 1/2 years, he was diagnosed with amoebic dysentery. Soon after Horace immigrated to the United States to pursue his dream of owning a custom tailoring business, a trade he learned from his father. After some time while owning a successful business in the DC Metro area, he developed ulcerative colitis. Trying many drugs and fighting this disease for eight years, he found a surgeon in 1969 willing to perform ileostomy surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery had to be redone two months later. Finally, after a difficult and lengthy recovery Horace had became uncomfortably aware of the very limited knowledge of ostomy care amongst nurses and doctors, and the lack of information available in general. Thus began his life's advocacy for improving the lives of ostomates.

His three-part plan resulted in:

  • More than 100 nurses trained as ETs (Enterstomal Therapists) in every metro-area hospital and eventually all Maryland hospitals staffed with at least one ET nurse. These ET nurses became active in the local support groups.


  • Twelve (12) ostomy chapters organized and attached to every Metro-DC area hospital in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


  • More than 100 young people, 6-16 years old, brought together at picnics, sports activities, dances, and boat trips on the Chesapeake Bay. This all led to the annual youth conference nationwide, which continues today.


Horace gained the support of the American Cancer Society officials and United Way, met with hospital medical boards and all Maryland hospital directors of nurses and held office with some of these organizations. He has been interviews on radio and television, has promoted better ostomy supplies and equipment, and has advocated for insurance reimbursements. To quote Bernard Heckman, MD, who has worked closely with Horace through the years, "Horace is a 'mountain-mover' who sees things that need changed and works every day to make that change come about. He is a mover of people and a mover of hearts."


The influence of Horace's passion and commitment to improve the lives of ostomates has extended far beyond the Metro-DC area to much of the United States. He opened the eyes of the medical world and product manufacturers to the needs of ostomates.

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