Photo by Bethany Townsend
Bethany Townsend's photo shows the 23-year-old on holiday with two of her colostomy bags visible. The image of Townsend, published on June 21, has been seen by millions - and she was so overwhelmed by the response that she now feels confident enough to pursue modeling.
Though Townsend's photo has been seen by people all over the world, she is not the first person to take such an image - both male and female patients living with Crohn's disease, as well as those with ulcerative colitis, have taken selfies showing their stomachs, scars and bags and shared them on Facebook.
Townsend herself has noted others before her have taken colostomy bag bikini selfies.
'When you're on holiday you're in a bit of a bubble and it's much different to when you're back at home,' she said in an interview with Caters.
'I'd posted a few pictures to Instagram and Facebook but only my friends could see them. 'But after looking on the Internet I saw a few other pictures of girls like me showing off their bags so I thought, why not. I sent [Crohn's and Colitis UK] the picture and my information, and it all blew up from there.'