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False /oidc-signin/en-gb/ Convatec Group Contact Us Brasil Brasil United States (English) United States (English) Estados Unidos (Español) Estados Unidos (Español) Argentina Argentina Canada (English) Canada (English) Canada (Français) Canada (Français) Chile Chile Colombia Colombia Ecuador Ecuador México México Perú Perú Belize Belize Guyana Guyana Jamaica Jamaica Venezuela Venezuela Costa Rica Costa Rica Curaçao Curaçao República Dominicana República Dominicana Guatemala Guatemala Honduras Honduras Nicaragua Nicaragua Panamá Panamá Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Suriname Suriname El Salvador El Salvador United Kingdom United Kingdom France France Deutschland Deutschland Italia Italia Україна Україна België België Česko Česko Danmark Danmark España España Ireland Ireland Nederland Nederland Norge Norge Österreich Österreich Polska Polska Schweiz (Deutsch) Schweiz (Deutsch) Slovensko Slovensko Suisse (Français) Suisse (Français) Suomi Suomi Sverige Sverige Türkiye Türkiye Ελλάδα Ελλάδα Россия Россия Bosna i Hercegovina Bosna i Hercegovina България България Eesti Eesti Hrvatska Hrvatska Magyarország Magyarország Ísland Ísland Lietuva Lietuva Latvija Latvija Северна Македонија Северна Македонија Malta Malta România România Srbija Srbija Slovenija Slovenija الإمارات العربية المتحدة الإمارات العربية المتحدة البحرين البحرين مصر مصر ישראל ישראל ایران ایران الأردن الأردن عُمان عُمان قطر قطر پاکستان پاکستان لبنان لبنان الكويت الكويت المملكة العربية السعودية المملكة العربية السعودية Suid-Afrika Suid-Afrika العراق العراق New Zealand New Zealand 日本 日本 Australia Australia India India Malaysia Malaysia Singapore Singapore 대한민국 대한민국 中国大陆 中国大陆 中国台湾 中国台湾 ไทย ไทย Indonesia Indonesia Việt Nam Việt Nam Philippines Philippines Hong Kong SAR China (English) Hong Kong SAR China (English) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区)) 中国香港特别行政区 (中文(简体,中国香港特别行政区))

Meet Steve, me+ Community member

a man sitting in a wheelchair ;

"Life doesn't happen like it does in the movies...and that's OK."

If you told a 17-year-old Steve Kearley he’d be in an Oscar-nominated sports documentary, he might not have been that surprised. He just wouldn’t have expected it to be about wheelchair rugby. It had been a typical Friday night for the promising high-school footballer. “We were hanging out in cars, listening to loud music, when a buddy pulled up and asked if I’d like to go for a ride”, he remembers. They ended up flipping the car into a ditch. Steve survived with a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“In the movies, you see someone having a catastrophic event and walking a few days later”,
he says. “I learned that that’s Hollywood and not everyone’s story pans out that way.”

With almost no movement in his hands, Steve had to relearn how to do everything. “I had this real no-quit mindset,” he says. “I was going to get through this and live a normal a life as I could. I’m the kind of guy that when I say I’ll do something I’ll do it."

An early setback for Steve was when his doctor made the decision for him to use an indwelling catheter. “Whether it was hard-headedness or vanity, I didn’t want to be rolling around with a bag of pee strapped to me”, he says. “I spoke to the doctor and found out about intermittent catheters. That was my next challenge.” At the time, he says, the only catheters available were red-rubber ones with lubricant. The lubricant was difficult for him to apply, “but working with the nursing team at night I slowly learned the best technique that worked for me." 

"It was huge when I felt confident enough to go out in public again."

a group of people in wheelchairs ;

Steve would soon find his next passion: wheelchair rugby, or as it was known then – Murderball. “The cool thing about the sport is it’s made for people with quadriplegia and is full contact – you’d get into chairs and ram into each other. When I first saw it, I was like ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got to learn more about this’.

Steve didn’t just learn more about it, he worked his way up to the US national team and won gold in international competitions. It was in the build-up to the 2004 Paralympic games that Steve and his teammates featured in the 2005 film, Murderball. “I developed some great friendships”, he says. 

“It felt normal, if that makes sense, being around other people in a similar situation. We were all learning this new way of life together.

It’s these learnings and experiences Steve shares with people as a Patient Advocate, a role he started after nearly two decades working in catheter sales. “The coolest thing about working in the industry was being able to learn about newer and better catheter technologies”, he says. “There are some really discrete products out there, like the GentleCath Air™. You could be holding the package in your hand and nobody would ever know you’re holding a catheter.

Above all, Steve says, he feels blessed that his job allows him to help others. “People need to know that life is still out there, and it’s still what you make of it”, he says.

"I want people to know they’ve got this. Look at me. Go out there and live your life to the fullest. Aspire. Dream. Work towards your goals, however big or small"

"Cathing can feel like a life-changing event at first. But find the right product and the right routine, and it'll be normal soon." Steve Kearley has always loved teaching. Before his current role as Patient Advocate, in which he helps support patients who are new to self-catheterisation, he was a high school teacher and Assistant Principal. He remembers his work fondly, not least because of the chance to shape students’ familiarity with people in wheelchairs. “Seeing my interactions with the students change was really fulfilling,” he says. “At the beginning of the year they were like ‘Hey, what’s up with this teacher in a wheelchair?’. But by the end of the course, it was more ‘what a great teacher’.” 

Steve feels fortunate for the experience.

"It was a great honor for me. At their age, I'd never met a person in a wheelchair, so it meant a lot to be able to show them I live life as normally as they do, I just do it in a wheelchair."

a group of people sitting in wheelchairs ;

Steve explains that cathing can be a big challenge at first, but with time, finding the right product and the right routine, and learning how your body works, it becomes “kind of normal”.

“The most important thing, I believe, is finding the right product to use. I encourage people to sample a bunch of products and find out what works best for them. The technology has really advanced recently.”

GentleCath™ with FeelClean Technology™ is a fantastic catheter,” he says, “one of the newest hydrophilic catheters on the market with the newest technology to give the comfort you want as a user. The hydrophilic property is embedded into the catheter, so you don’t have a coating you can scratch off with your fingernail.”

Another advantage of finding the right product and routine, he says, is lessening the risk of UTIs. “UTIs are a big deal for people who cath – I can’t stress that enough,” he says. “I’ve got my catheters that I use, including a compact one when I’m out and toilets might not be so clean. I haven’t had a UTI in so long I can’t even recall when I had my last one.”

Whether it’s finding the right catheter or another aspect of adjusting to a new life circumstance, Steve often repeats some advice that helped him early in his journey. "It was a guy in rehab who told me, 'No matter what, just don't quit.' And it's resonated with me. I always make sure to say that to people."

 

"Whatever you’re going through, however bad it feels, reach out and get help and I can tell you from experience it gets better. Just don’t quit.”

Join the community

Become part of an inspiring community and share your journey to help other intermittent catheter users.
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Adjusting to cathing can be tough, with a range of practical, physical and emotional challenges. You don’t have to figure it out alone.

Speak to one of our friendly product specialists today. 

Call 0800 587 7560 (Monday - Friday: 9AM - 5PM).

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