Crohn’s disease has a de facto spokesperson, and according to social media, she's, well, hot.
Bethany Townsend is the woman in the colostomy bikini pics that are circulating on the Internet. In fact, according to a July 3 ABC News report, the colostomy swimsuit photos have been viewed by millions and garnered discussions in the thousands.
The former model-turned makeup artist recently built the nerve to post pictures of her donning two colostomy bags after borrowing inspiration from others who took to the camera in the battle against the debilitating condition. It all began as an experiment as a way to see beyond the daily suffering and unleash the beauty she's always felt inside and outside.
However, after the Crohn's and Colitis UK Facebook group posted the pictures on their page, the woman's colostomy bag bikini pics went viral. As of this writing, the images of Townsend revealing a once-hidden side of her have over 190,000 "likes" and thousands of comments on Facebook and Instagram.
I felt like I finally had the confidence after three and a half years of having them [colostomy bags]. I wanted to give other girls the confidence, other guys the confidence that 'we may have these bags but it doesn't define who we are,'" the woman in the bikini pics about the colostomy bags said during a recent interview.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition. In most cases, once diagnosed, a person must adopt lifestyle changes and work closely with their physician to manage the disease for the rest of their life.
A spokesperson from the charity that posted the pics said comments from readers are largely positive and Bethany's decision to bare her suffering brings awareness to the disease. At the same time, it provides hope to many who draw strength from the woman's colostomy bikini pictures.
Bethany has become somewhat of a celebrity by initiating a simple and endearing gesture. It was only four years ago that she was given the news she'd have to wear the bags for the rest of her life. Today, with her new-found celebrity and self-empowerment, she's on her way back to modeling and providing hope in the lives of others.