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This powerful photo of a bikini wearer with a colostomy bag has gone ultra-viral

Almost ten million people have seen it in the last 10 days.

Source: Facebook

THIS PHOTO OF a young colostomy bag user wearing a bikini has been seen by almost 10million people in the last ten days, according to a charity who posted it on their Facebook page.

Bethany Townsend is a 23-year-old British woman who has had Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disorder – since she was three years old. She has had to use colostomy bags for the last four years.

She wrote on Facebook:

Finally after three and a half years, I decided that my colostomy bags shouldn’t control my life. So when I went to Mexico with my husband in December last year I finally showed I wasn’t ashamed. Still hoping for a cure…

Townsend posted her photo and her story to the Facebook page of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, a charity supporting people with the condition and funding research, on June 21.

It has since been liked more than 220,000 times and gained more than 10,000 comments.

The charity wrote on their page that almost ten million people have seen the photo. It has even inspired other people with the disease to post their own bikini photos.

One said she had previously “held back” on the photo because she “thought people wouldn’t approve”.

Here’s Bethany’s full story:

I’ve had Crohn’s since I was 3 years old but was misdiagnosed until I was 11. Just 4 weeks later I was having 16 inches of my bowel taken out.Since then I’ve been on steroids, infliximab, methotrexate and every other drug going as well as being tube fed for 4 years. After five more operations my bowel burst 4 years ago and I ended up with two colostomy bags. They thought that would help until 4 weeks later and it was back.

I then went on to have a stem cell transplant which was in trial in the UK, we all hoped it would work but unfortunately I caught MRSA of the skin and the blood and it nearly killed me twice. Since then my Crohn’s has still been extremely active, I’ve lost more weight and now I’m waiting for the NHS to fund a drug that hasn’t really been in the UK. If this doesn’t work a bowel transplant is in talks as I can’t have anymore of my intestine out as I haven’t got much left.. BUT I’m still hopeful.

Finally after three and a half years, I decided that my colostomy bags shouldn’t control my life. So when I went to Mexico with my husband in December last year I finally showed I wasn’t ashamed. Still hoping for a cure…”

For more information on Crohn’s Disease or colitis, visit Crohn’s and Colitis UK or the Irish Society for Colitis & Crohn’s Disease.

More: A Kerry dad fighting cancer made this music video for his baby daughter>

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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