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Kent Cullen 1991 Great Comebacks®

Great Comebacks® Award Recipient - United States

Living his life to the fullest – traveling, fishing, playing sports and overseeing a successful surgical practice – while also finding time to start the first Ostomy Club in Santa Barbara, CA, made Dr. Kent Cullen an ideal recipient for the 1991 Great Comebacks® Award.

Dr. Cullen was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 1968, a few years after he became a board certified colon and rectal surgeon, and underwent ileostomy surgery in 1983. He was instrumental in establishing the first enterostomal therapy department in Santa Barbara, and hired the first ostomy (ET) nurse in the history of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Dr. Cullen credits dedicated medical and surgical care, the love and support of family and his own ostomy patients with carrying him through the dark times of his disease.

While he is presently retired, Dr. Cullen, 79, has not slowed down. He continues to provide patient consultations at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he serves on their Internal Review Board and surgical advisory committee. He also enjoys traveling, hitting the links, fishing (though not nearly as much as he’d like!) and, most of all, spending time with his wife of 55 years, Diana, four children and two grandchildren.

“It was an honor to receive the Great Comebacks® Award,” said Dr. Cullen. “I’ve never stopped providing support to others like myself. My ostomy appliances gave me the freedom to do everything I’ve wanted to do in life.”

If you’ve been inspired by Kent's story and would like us to pass a message on, simply email us at or if you’d like to contribute your own stoma story, just get in touch the same way.

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