23-year-old Bethany Townsend has recently set up an example. This young talented makeup artist has posted her photo showing off the colostomy bag, which went soon viral over the Internet. There have been 12.4 million views of this particular photo till date.
A colostomy is known as a surgical procedure during which surgeons divert one end of the large intestine into a visible opening, termed as stoma on the patient’s abdomen. A small pouch, or colostomy bag, is then placed over the stoma to collect waste products that would normally pass through a person's rectum.
Colostomies and resulting colostomy bags are used to help patients who have problems with their colons. By diverting waste away, the colostomy bag can allow irritated or inflamed areas of the colon to heal. There are 110,000 people with Crohn’s in the UK, and 50 per cent of them may need surgery in the first 10 years after the onset of the disease.
Depending on the patient, it can be either permanent or temporary. The NHS estimates that around 6,400 permanent colostomies are carried out each year in the UK.
For some, it was an extremely tough decision, but now they feel they’ve got their life back because they’ve been so ill for so long. Others say “goodness me it has transformed my life because I don’t want to go out and talk to people, I worry about malfunctioning.”
"I'm just so glad that it's brought about more awareness of Crohn's disease and it's made me feel so much more confident about the colostomy bags," Bethany told the Mirror, adding that it was in Mexico she decided to wear a bikini for the first time since she has worn the bags.
David Barker, chief executive of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, after posting Townsend's photo on their Facebook page, showered heaps of praises on her and called her an “inspiring and brave young lady.”
He further added that “people have drawn inspiration from her. These [inflammatory bowel diseases] are not conditions that people want to talk about as they can be embarrassing. We are hugely impressed with the work she has been doing which says: 'This is me.'"
"Be proud of what you are. It's just another disease."
A message Bethany wants to spread. A message world needs to know.