The Woman Who Posed With Her Colostomy Bag Has Inspired Hundreds Of Others To Do The Same

Bethany Townsend’s photo has empowered people to stop hiding and ‘get their belly out.’

When Bethany Townsend snapped herself on holiday with two of her colostomy bags visible, she didn’t expect the photo to be seen by more than 9 million people.

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But since her photo went viral, hundreds of other people who live with Crohn’s disease are sharing photos of themselves with their colostomy bags on show.

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The photos are being shared on the Crohn’s and Colitis Facebook page and on the Get Your Belly Out Facebook page with the hashtag #GetYourBellyOut.

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Those who uploaded the photos are also speaking out about their illness with their stories of support and survival.

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When Joseph Hendy shared his story, people commented on his photo saying what an inspiration to others he was, adding: “I hope everybody with the same illness reads your story and takes the same positive attitude as yourself.”

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AnneMarie said that the campaign made her feel brave enough to share her own photo. She wrote on Facebook: “By seeing these posts by so many brave people who have gone through the same, it has inspired me to take my very first photo of me and my stomach.”

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Tina, shown in the middle here, said: “It’s really great to see so many people sharing their personal and difficult experiences publicly. An inspiration to all. Well here’s my pic, Hope it helps someone somewhere.”

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Laura said she was proud to join the campaign, saying: “We have suffered in silence and been hiding behind this horrible condition for long enough!! Proud to be a part of it! Get ur belly out people!!!!”

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Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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